Something Borrowed

Something Borrowed

I always loved the concept of ‘borrowed landscape’ and the idea of blending new gardens into their background settings.

For my design at the World Flower Garden Show at Huis Ten Bosch, Nagasaki, in October, I reinterpreted this dynamic, ‘borrowing’ from the interior of the location’s chapel to create my vision for an ethereal wedding.

women smiling sit on an altar sorrounded by flowers

interior of a chapel decorated with flowers for a wedding

I wanted to reconceive the fine ornamental elements of the chapel’s windows and mirror the architectural detailing. My aim was to recreate the space’s poetry in a reflective material, adding further evocative embellishments using my signature floral embroidery technique.

To complete the picture I created a dreamlike avenue of foliage and flowers leading to the ceremony area. My scheme also featured a bespoke hand embroidered flower dress fashioned from an elegant gown made by the London-based couture designer Louise Selby.

chapel interior decorated with flowers for a wedding
mirror decorated with dried flowers

I bought some of the flowers that I worked with in Ota Flower Market in Tokyo but the majority of them were sourced in a local flower market in Fukuoka. I was delighted to find a store where a lovely lady was selling some amazing plant material that she had foraged from the mountains just the previous day. I had never seen some of the wonderful gems that she’d unearthed before.

The installation took a week to create and the end result was just as I had envisioned: serene, peaceful, inviting calm reflection. Visitors to the chapel seemed to sense a new special atmosphere and fell silent upon entering the space.

details of wedding dress with blue flowers embroidery
plants details and a butterfly origami

The concept wasn’t about using a mass of flowers and the materials that I used weren’t especially expensive. The idea was more about bringing the interior of the space into the design. Once it was completed, the structural aspects of the chapel almost disappeared, melting into the whole feel as if they were integral, which was my intention: blurring the boundaries of what was there already and what had been added. I felt that I had created a particularly harmonious space where every element blended into a single vision and this appeared to be confirmed by visitors who seemingly took a while to absorb and distinguish reality from what I had imagined.

flowers decorations
red sunflowers bouquet details

With many thanks to my wonderful team, including some of my precious ex-students, with whom it was an absolute pleasure to work again: @mayuna_des, @voilaflower, @kimichan8 and @mskyoko

Photography © Ukawa Photo & Design