The first event, Designers Choice is themed "Flowers on the Orient". Contestants will complete a design up to 1.2 metres deep and wide and 2.25 metres high within 2 hours.
On the same day they will have their artistic flair tested again with a "Surprise Item" which they will complete in just over an hour. This is an exciting test of how spontaneous these designers from around the world can be with only 15 minutes to view the various items presented to them and create something amazing.
Assignment 1 - Flowers on the Orient.
The inspiration for my "Flowers on the orient" work, comes from the old Asian tradition of Bonsais. Growing plants into miniature trees in containers. This practice was originally first described during the Jin Dynasty in China, and later spread into several countries of the orient.My interpretation is a hand made tree made out of 800 single miniature test-tubes. Its been a very long process, first adding tripods of wire to each tube using floral tape, then covering all tape in wool and carpenters glue, and then finally, assembling each tube into small branches, and later into larger parts of the final construction.During the competition time, the whole tree will be filled with several kinds of Chrysanthemum (which is a flower that repeats itself into all my different prepared works here) various orchids, berries and leaves.In the end, my "bonsai" will be a florist miniature tree, created by hundreds of flowers. After years of travelling in Asia, and China in particular, Bonsai trees are one of the first things that come to my mind, when I'm asked to describe what I find typical for this part of the world. I've always been extremely fascinated by these fantastic plants whenever I travel here.
Typical flowers of the orient? Well, I think, first and foremost, that the people of Asia are really in love with flowers in general. The presence of flowers and plants is very strong in everything from art, fashion and architecture, to temples and sacrifices, philosophy, food, and history.They are basically everywhere. As a Scandinavian florist, born and raised around snow and icy landscapes, I'm really drawn to the importance of flowers here in Asia. For me as a florist, one of my favourite things to do, is to use flowers that are maybe considered a little bit boring and dull, and to try to give them new and interesting life through my designs. Earlier on in the process before the world cup, I decided that one of my favourite flowers of Asia, the Chrysanthemum, which has such a long tradition and history in China and Japan in particular, would play a significant role in all my designs here. This flower is one of the "four gentlemen of China", (the others being plum blossom, orchid and bamboo) it is the symbol of nobleness and is also one of the four symbolic seasonal flowers. Chrysanthemums are by many florist considered a little "old fashioned, boring and dull” these days. I want to show that they can be the absolute opposite:-)
I think the fact that I have chosen a traditional and less popular material like Chrysanthemum as my focal flower, together with my construction of the tree itself, is very, very typical for me as a florist.
Assignment 2 - Surprise item, Shanghai Tang
Assignment: Create within the time allowed an in store display for the famous Shanghai Tang Clothing and Accessories Store. Your design should reflect the vibrancy and contemporary ambience of this retail outlet. You do not have to use all of the materials provided, you may decide not to use some of the items at all.
Stein on his creation "I am a florist, I always use the flowers and not the packages. I create what comes up in my mind."