Design in Bloom

A renaissance in floristry is blurring genres and inspiring artists.

Holding a beautiful flower.

Image source: Anna Jones Photo / Adobe Stock.

by Irene Malatesta

posted on 02-17-2020

It’s spring. Is your muse in bloom? Across Adobe Stock, we’re seeing images inspired by florals, with aesthetics that range from lush and wild to minimalist and architectural. These pieces reflect a larger trend — a renaissance in the world of floral design.

These days, astonishing floral displays are taking center stage at major events — think of the 10,000 golden flowers at this year’s Golden Globes — and across social media and the design world. In Adobe Stock, we expect the market’s eye-catching, floral-inspired photographs and illustrations to be strong this spring, as designers tap into our seasonal craving for more nature and brilliant color palettes.

For a peek at how artists are using flowers and other natural elements on Adobe Stock, visit our curated galleries of intense spring colors and beautiful blooms. Read on to learn how Adobe Stock artists and leading floral designers are taking flowers in unexpected directions.

Image source: Rein Janssen / Adobe Stock.

Botanicals, Stock, and the joyful details

We talked to Alice Angelini, an Italian photographer and Adobe Stock contributor, about how she uses flowers and plants in her work. Alice’s style is minimalist, with a focus on the overlooked beauty of everyday things. When she travels, it’s the pairing of built environments and florals that first grabs her attention.

“Whenever I go to a new city, I am always eager to visit the botanical garden to admire beautiful compositions of plants combined with the greenhouse’s architecture,” says Alice. “Plants and flowers have their way to speak to me with their shapes and bright colors in juxtaposition to their environment.”

Image source: Alice Angelini / Adobe Stock.

Floral hues are also a key inspiration for Alice’s work. “I like to experiment with the different color combinations and see which feelings result when I do so. For example, I try to contrast a red flower with a cooler background color — maybe green or blue — to make it stand out and make the viewer’s eye immediately catch that color opposition.”

Among Alice’s most popular images is a cactus study from the Hortus Botanicus in Amsterdam. The natural light and soothing green are deeply appealing, but Alice thinks it’s also the small textural details that draw people in: “The tiny, softer hair that surrounds and almost protects the spike — this creates an appealing contrast.”

The new, genre-bending world of floral design

While flowers and plants are inherently inspiring, a new generation of floral designers is taking our love of blooms to the next level. Today’s floral artists are blurring genres, pushing boundaries and bringing in elements from across the design world, from haute couture to sculpture, architecture, and even science fiction.

Image source: Archan Nair / Adobe Stock.

Luxury, color, fashion, and blossoms

We’ve been tracking the growing love affair between the floral world and haute couture for a while. These days, sumptuous arrangements of big, bold blooms accompany fashion shows and adorn magazine covers. Consider Nick Knight’s photograph of Rihanna on the cover of British Vogue — her face is surrounded, nearly lost, in luxurious blooms arranged by Makoto Azuma (more on him below).

Beyoncé may deserve some of the credit for launching the trend. She dazzled us when she surrounded herself with warm-hued poppies, peonies, and roses in her pregnancy photo shoot. The photographs, taken by Awol Erizku, elevate the connection between blooms and fertility, while nodding to the language of flowers in art history. As Maria Brito notes on artnet, Beyonce’s images draw inspiration from Frida Kahlo’s floral headpieces, as well as classical works like Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus.”

The new floral trends are also about vibrant color exploration. While some artists use florals to play with a riot of colors, others, like Alice, explore simple contrast or work with monochromatic arrangements that deepen our attention to shapes and shadows.

Image source: Wakana Yamaguchi / Adobe Stock.

Botanical minimalism

Floral minimalism is another style to watch. The trend may have its roots in the centuries-old Japanese art of Ikebana, in which artists place individual blossoms, branches, and leaves sparingly, following strict rules of composition and symbolism to emphasize the importance of each element.

Today’s floral minimalists are drawing on architectural and sculptural themes, too. For example, at the Brooklyn botanical studio WIFE, designers play with non-organic shapes and pare florals down to their most simple forms. Leaves may be painted with unexpected colors, and non-floral elements are added. The studio’s Creative Director Sophie Parker explains, “I’m not so sure my main concern is making something beautiful. Flowers are already beautiful. My main rule might be to resist the seduction of a traditional vision of beauty, and instead search for something rare, or fierce, or funny, or sensual — something more natural.”

Metaphora is another top floral design house that’s approaching florals with a spare, architectural aesthetic. Their pieces emphasize shape and limit colors to expose the structure of each arrangement.

Image source: Yaroslav Danylchenko/Stocksy / Adobe Stock.

Wild, untamed sustainability

While some artists are structured, others celebrate the wild, untamed side of flowers. The designers at London-based JamJar Flowers left the fashion and art worlds to follow their inspiration in local woods and meadows, creating floral designs that are natural, seasonal, and “unfussy.”

In a similar eco-forward movement, floral designers are thinking about sustainability, especially with the rise of living plant walls (a quick Google search turns up plenty of DIY tutorials if you’re craving your own living wall), and potted plants amongst cut stems. Designers are also working to reduce waste and eliminate toxic materials from their work.

Lauren Allen, a North Carolina-based photographer and Adobe Stock contributor who focuses on travel, food, and natural elements, sees the trend toward nature across the creative world.

“I think there is a movement, in general, to get back to the organic simplicities of nature across many realms, including interior design, art, photography, graphic design, and architecture,” Lauren says. “It creates a sense of calm but also celebration in a world that is a little out of our control right now. By incorporating these elements into our art, we’re creating a subconscious awareness of how fragile but also beautiful our planet is.”

Image source: Lauren Allen / Adobe Stock.

Flowers as spectacle

While some flower arrangements sit unobtrusively on the dining room table, others appear in unexpected places — and make delightful spectacles of themselves. Lewis Miller Design, for example, pioneered the Flower Flash, a surprise burst of unruly flowers in neglected, un-beautiful places. The Lewis Miller team adorns public trash cans, construction sites, fire hydrants, and phone booths with huge, stunning arrangements. Their goal? To remind people about goodness and compassion.

Azuma Makoto’s floral spectacles happen in even more impossible places. Drawing inspiration from science fiction, the Japanese flower artist has launched a bonsai tree into space and plunged massive bouquets into the ocean. He sent intricate flower arrangements skydiving, documented the progress as flowers decayed, and orchestrated the freezing and thawing of his work.

All of the new floral designs connect us with natural, elemental beauty, but Azuma’s work asks us to think more deeply about what flowers mean. As he explained to The Green Gallery, “A flower starts as a bud, in order to bloom and then to wither and allow her seed to fall on the ground as nutrition for the soil. During her limited existence she undergoes many changes and fulfils [sic] her short life without words. The pure beauty of this existence touches people deep in their heart.”

To see more inspiring florals, visit our dedicated seasonal gallery of breathtaking blossoms on Adobe Stock. Stay with us this spring and beyond as we continue to unpack the latest design trends on The Adobe Blog.

Topics: Creativity

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