The Prudential Center
Even as the weather outside hurtles ever forward toward the wrong side of fall, the inside of the Prudential Center was full of flowers and life for Voyage, a temporary installation created in partnership with Fleurs de Villes and featuring the work of local floral artists. Eighteen mannequins, each decorated by a different florist, were adorned with stunning arrays of flowers to represent different global destinations.
Clockwise from left: Sculptures of Italy, China, India, Argentina, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Scotland (See it larger):
Several sculptures based the clothing of their floral displays on the fashion or traditional clothing of the region. The sculpture representing Italy, created by 33 Munroe and placed outside of Eataly, was inspired by a gown shown at a fashion show in Florence's Bardini Gardens. Argentina's display, created by Rococo Floral, was inspired by traditional tango attire, and Ireland's, created by King Farm Inc., featured a figure in an Irish dancing dress, flowers replicating colorful fabrics, embroidery sequins, and celtic-inspired motifs.
Other mannequins were inspired by cultural events, natural features, or unique qualities of the lands they were representing. China's sculpture, by Louis Barry Florist, paid homage to the Yuan Xiao Festival, the Chinese Lantern Festival which marks the end of the Chinese New Year festivities. Morocco's design, by Hafsa and Co, was inspired by the souks of Marrakech. Boston even had its own unique mannequin, which wore a swan dress inspired by the swan boats of Boston's Public Garden.
Bermuda's Sculpture by Yanique Events Floral Design:
When I arrived on Sunday, Yanique Shaw, the creative mind behind Yanique Events Floral Design, was touching up her sculpture of Bermuda, which was one of the few sponsored sculptures I saw. Shaw was prompted with the idea of destination weddings by The BTA, the Official Destination Marketing Organization of Bermuda, and told me that she drew inspiration for her design from the landscapes of Bermuda, characterized by its pink sand beaches and blue waters, as well as from Bermuda's "mystical moongates," or stone archways believed to bring good luck to those who pass through them.
Shaw, who does a lot of weddings and events, noted that florists can sometimes be put in a box, so an event like this is an exciting opportunity to be creative. That sentiment seemed to ring true for other florists, who also cited the creative freedom and fun of the undertaking.
Detail of "Scotland" by Fleur Events:
I also walked by Scotland's display as Paul Freitas of Fleur Events was touching up the display with some fresh flowers. Like Shaw, Freitas noted that he does mostly weddings, but as the wedding season is coming to an end he was excited to do something like this precisely because it's not something that he gets to do every day. Unlike most of the other countries which had more general prompts and were mainly inspired by their destinations, Scotland was sponsored by Hendrick's Gin and Freitas noted that Fleur Events took some queues from their advertising for inspiration. In addition to the kilt on the main character, there were nods to Henrick's Cucumber Rose Gin with the roses and cucumbers adoring the display, as well as the peacock man which Hendrick's uses for their advertisements. Freitas noted that he was excited to make this one a little different from the others, "because I'm a little weird, so I like to do things that are a little weird!"
Freitas also walked me through some of the challenges he faces while constructing an arrangement like this. Green bricks, made of flower foam, were embedded in the sculpture in order to give the flowers moisture, but the hot environment inside the mall has caused rapid water consumption, causing the fresh kilt on the mannequin to begin to dry out.
Freitas estimated that it took 90 hours to assemble the mannequin, and an additional seven hours to set up the rest of the arrangement, and noted the amount of work that goes into creating something so beautiful. "A lot of people think - you're so lucky, you get to play with beautiful flowers all day, but it's hard work!" he showed me his hands, which were calloused, "I look like a construction worker!"
"Morocco" by Hafsa and Co:
Despite my knee-jerk reaction to the commercial sponsorship and the mall location, I was taken aback by the level of detail and artistry that went into each piece and was by how impactful the art seemed to be on those who were passing by. Instead of rushing by, or glancing at the pieces the way one might at a beautiful window display which can also approach a level of artistry, crowds lingered, circling the sculptures and devoting more time to their appreciation than one might expect in a traditional museum setting. What was particularly striking was the nature of the conversations swirling around me -– discussions that delved into the intricacies of creative influences and comparisons between the pieces - how this one compared to the last, or comparing their designs, colors, and complexity. While the show may have had some commercial dressings, the people around me weren't shopping, but simply appreciating the art and stopping to smell the roses.
Review from the Independent Review Crew.