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Home Jungle: a term that outlines the tendency to fill up your home with plants and flowers.
When it comes to plants and green thumbs, you have a wealth of choices. We have interviewed the Milan-based Italian flower designer Irene Cuzzaniti, who has shared with us her tips and secrets. And if you ever come to Milan, go and visit her shop and atelier at the Six Gallery: a true museum where she carries outa creative, minimal and unconventional approach to the plant world.
Indoor plants are back and they are here to stay: how many times have you seen them peeping out in a bohemian style living room and an industrial one? It is not simply home gardening - indoor plants have gained a veritable aesthetic function.
We live in grey, rather than green, cities and we are constantly looking for weekend getaways or retreat in nature to recover from our hectic lives. That’s normal, it’s a real rediscovery of a connection with the Earth. That’s why today having plants at home all year round is more frequent than ever.
In Irene’s hands, flowers and plants are like words in poetry. They are turned into works of art with a combination of solids and voids, shades and textures.
What are the 2018 trends, in terms of plants, flowers and home decor?
What’s common is the use of plant materials in the broadest sense aimed at finding original and unusual solutions. For example, I personally mix fresh and dry elements, with great care in the combination of colors and textures. I like to ‘contaminate’ my compositions with what I see and like around me: it can be building materials as much as 'artefacts' coming from Nature and the environment. I find that my work can be influenced by the habits and customs of other places, take inspiration from afar to harmonize in any context.
We have noticed on Pinterest an interest in Patterned plants, with very elaborate leaves. Which ones would you suggest? Which ones are the easiest to grow?
Patterned plants are actually rather simple to grow, and easy to find: an excellent reason to put them at home. I'm talking about plants like the Calathea Medallion, the Maranta Leuconeura, the pink Fittonia. The best maintenance advice for these plants, to be taken in a broader sense, is to be patient and tenacious, observe these plants carefully and try to understand as much as possible how they are influenced by the environment.
Which niche trend do you consider worthy of note? Are there any trends that should be rediscovered in your opinion?
There are some kinds of flowers, such as carnations and gladiolas, that are no longer used because we no longer have a purely festive aesthetic tied to flowers. Think of Constance Spry, the most famous florist of the '50s, and her compositions. Today we go for a romantic or graphic approach. I would only want a trend to get back, and I’m talking of simply taking care of our plants and flowers, with love and perseverance.
Tell us about yourself: how much has your passion for botany guided your life? What feelings does dealing with plants everyday give you?
As soon as I start working with plants and flowers, I feel at peace, it's a relief! I feel very blessed and my job always puts a smile on my face. It gives me much and I continually learn about plants and about myself. The desire to play with nature has always been present in my life, it was a linear path that led me to study Architecture of Gardens and Landscaping: I did not hesitate a moment, and since then I have never doubted that I would be able to really work in the field. The rest came really naturally.
Your Fioreria in Milan has a very busy calendar of events and workshops: where do you find inspiration? What are the manual activities that you think are worth learning in 2018?
The courses are many, always different, an inexhaustible source of ideas and energy. I do a lot of research, I look at the programming of others and other associations, museums, festivals ... My work leads me to meet many designers and artisans, and I love arts in the broadest sense, I’m always looking for new ideas. There is a huge demand for manual activities in general: I think it makes sense to approach nature in a less detached and conventional way, and strat getting your hands dirty. I teach several manual activities in my atelier, from Ikebana to Hangin Planters, from bookbinding to ceramics. I find it very useful to rediscover manual skills to decorate your home - it allows you to add your personality while recovering your inner skills.
What tips would you give our readers for a floral composition that could bring a touch of Spring at home?
You can not avoid buying bulbs in this period, they are simply irresistible - daffodils, tulips, freesias or buttercups. My tip would be to use them individually: some of these are in fact a bit 'toxic’ to other flowers. One more idea: let them wilt! While changing the water every day, watch what happens to the last: often withering reveal a new beauty, other colors, shapes, textures.
cover credit: Alberto Strada
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