The Floral Report: Chic and Simple Does It

Flowers and plants may be required at a soiree, but a growing number of designers are ditching the lace and Baby’s Breath in favor of arrangements and centerpieces with a more contemporary aesthetic.

“There is an explosion of modern, simple home decor that has been going strong for awhile now,” says Epoch Floral co-owner Mike Hines.  Epoch’s open, airy showroom in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood has vaulted ceilings and a minimal feel that extends to the arrangements they ship out daily to clients like the Park Hyatt Hotel.

“We love to use single, stunning blooms like Chilean Red Crown Peonies en mass to create impact rather than adding ‘stuff’ to make a design bigger or fuller.”
Evanston’s IXIA Flowers also has a contemporary feel that suits owner Barbara Bellamy’s personality and helps her to distinguish the shop from others.

“The store is designed like an art gallery,” says Bellamy. “I have a less is more mentality.”

While Bellamy enjoys creating many different types of arrangements, she favors the simple elegance of cut orchids.

“They’re so beautiful, and you don’t need a lot of them to make a statement,” says Bellamy, who also uses common, often inexpensive flowers in unique ways.

“Carnations used to be the flower you get at the supermarket every night, so they became less popular in flower stores,” says Bellamy. “I use them in different ways. I cluster them in the base of an arrangement to create a monochromatic effect.”

Michael Del Piero often uses natural materials when creating centerpieces for her clients at her Bucktown boutique/studio Michael Del Piero Good Design.

“They’re classic, and they add a lot of warmth to a space,” says Del Piero, who often eschews flowers entirely, creating “tablescapes” with layers of moss, antiques and other unusual outdoor objects.

“It almost becomes a mound and every guest has a different view,” Del Piero explains. “When you see something like a table that has that many layers, it really looks like the host has spent a lot of time, and it makes the guest feel important and welcome and that they were invited to something special, that something was done just for them.”