Flor Unikon Flower School in Portugal

Flor Unikon are pleased to announce that from March 2016 they will be launching their Spring programme of floristry courses in London and Portugal. It will be the first time they have conducted courses in the Algarve and are very excited about the response they have received so far from local Portuguese people and the British community there.

Bookings are going well and so don’t leave it to late to book your place for the first workshop on the 16th April. However, if you are not lucky to get a place there will be opportunities to attend future courses in June and September.

Posted in Algarve, Algarve flower courses, Dom Joao II Alvor, Escola Floral Portugal, Escuela de arte Floral, Flor Unikon Flowers in Portugal, Flor Unikon Flowers in the Algarve, Flower School Algarve, Flower School Portugal, Flower courses in Portugal, Hotel flower courses, Making a bouquet, Pestana Hotel Algarve, Pestana Hotel Alvor, Wreath making workshops, Wreath making workshops in Finland | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Advent Wreaths

Flor Unikon’s Advent Wreaths are made in the traditional way using a straw base and the thickest of Nobilis tree branches to create lush and elegant creations that are now famous across the globe. Therefore it isn’t surprising that they receive many requests for deliveries of wreaths both nationally and internationally.

The humble Advent wreath is a symbol of on-going life whose origin can be traced to the folk traditions of Northern Europe. In the middle of winter all the villagers would have lit candles on wheel shaped bundles of greenery, the light probably giving hope that the lighter spring/summer days would soon follow the darker one’s.

Later, Eastern European Christians adopted this tradition. By the sixteenth century, Advent wreaths contained four candles, three purple and one rose. Most Christian denominations still use the three purple candles that have come to symbolise love, peace and hope. These candles are lit on the first, second, and fourth Sundays of Advent. The rose candle, representing joy, is usually lit on the third Sunday.

Flor Unikon’s customers have a diverse taste with some preferring the traditional red coloured candle, that has come to symbolise the rich colours of Christmas, and others choosing a cool white shade, symbolising peace and harmony.

Advent wreath decoration can also be diverse. Flor Unikon’s wreath designers prefer to use natural materials such as Nobilis (blue pine), different varieties of Eucalyptus, Pine and Spruce cones, Ilex berries, dried fruits, nuts and cinnamon sticks. But they also take on board a client’s request for sparkle and so also use coloured baubles that tie in with colour of the wreath’s candles.

And for their younger clients Flor Unikon will tailor the wreath decoration, using ornaments such as stars and handcrafted Elves.

Flor Unikon’s Flower School host wreath making workshops using a traditional weaving method, not often taught these days. The next set of two hour workshops take place on Thursday 3rd and 10th December at 44 Amwell Street, London EC1 R 1XS. Please call 0207 837 3233 or email london@flor-unikon.co.uk to reserve a place.

Their wreath making workshops also take place in Finland, Portugal and Italy, future dates to be announced very soon.

Posted in Advent Candles, Advent Wreath Delivery, Advent Wreaths, Advent wreath decoration, Amwell Street, Christmas, Christmas wreath, Uncategorized, Wreath making workshop London, Wreath making workshops, Wreath making workshops in Finland | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Decorating your home – Scandinavian Style Decoration through the seasons with a focus on Christmas.

For centuries people across the world have enjoyed and continue to enjoy nature’s children in the form of flowers, shrubs, tree stems, and blossoms. These were initially appreciated in their natural surroundings and then the desire to enjoy these fruits daily we have hand-picked or purchased these elements to decorate our homes or as gifts for family and loved one’s.

Historically, the arrangement of these flowers/greens have varied considerably, between the linear style of China and Japan and the more massed formations of the West.

Some of the earliest evidence of how our ancestors decorated with flowers comes from the wall paintings of Egyptian times. For example, they show that Egyptians placed cut flowers in vases as early as 2500 BC.

The above wall painting, from the tomb of the Two Sculptors of Thebes, shows a series of very elaborately designed metal vases, one of which holds Lotus Blossoms.  As you can see no additional flowers were added and this simplicity is something you will find repeated in Scandinavian design today, from the shape of the container/vase to its content display of greenery/flowers. {add an alvarato vase image here]

If you ask most Scandinavian artists and designers what inspires them you will probably get a reply something to this effect “I feel inspired by and draw my inspiration from nature”.  This should remind us of what the early Chinese Buddhists taught their students, i.e. to follow the natural world rather than try to conquer it (something we have been guilty of here in the west for centuries); in turn they were encouraged to apply this principle when decorating their homes, from paying attention to symbolism, the conservation of life and the appreciation of beauty. For example, to the Buddhist the Lotus flower represents Purity and therefore an important part of life as it was to the ancient Egyptians before them; one stem might be enjoyed rather than a whole bunch; and enjoyed in its natural environment rather than cutting a whole row of stems to take home, leaving perhaps nothing for other fans to enjoy.

The above illustration from the ‘Pictorial News’, illustrated by Wang Taon, 1870, features a Chinese man with a ceramic vase holding what appears to be Hosta blossoms. Both the vase and the arrangement seem to complement each other rather, i.e. the elaborate vase decoration doesn’t fight with the simple arrangement it contains. This can’t be said for many Victorian over styled vases that contained equally elaborate floral arrangements. The example below, taken from a Currier and Ives Lithograph, was a very popular way of decorating in the early 18th century.

Back to the Scandinavian Artist, who once inspired by their natural surroundings may prefer to frame their finished work with something simple; for the budding Florist this might be a simple vase that doesn’t fight with the completed floral design, e.g. a more complex arrangement with a variety of stems and colours might be contained in a linear shaped and single coloured vase. [add an image here of such an arrangement]

Before we begin to demonstrate ways of arranging flowers in your home, using material specific to the current season, I just want to touch on some elements of design that you might find useful for creating your own arrangements at home:

Judith Blacklock in her book ‘Flower Design’ states that “A good design is one which no more can be added and from which nothing can be taken away without causing an impression of incompleteness”.  She goes on to say “Good designs become classics, reflecting the age in which they were created, yet they are comfortable in any period” From a Scandinavian design point of view we would add that a good design isn’t restrained with non essential details. For example, greenery is used to enhance the floral creation and as a practical aid for supporting the heads of certain varieties of flowers. We have seen some British floral designs that use leaves to frame the bouquet, but end up drowning the flowers in a well of greenery, and creating a very stiff arrangement.

But back to good design – the main elements to consider are:

Form, i.e. (a) the individual form of each flower stem and (b) the total formation of the flower arrangement/bouquet.

(a) The form of individual stems, both flowers and greenery, can be categorised in three ways: Round for dominant or focal point= Peonies and Ivy; Spray play a secondary role by lightening, softening and creating visual interest = Aster [Michaelmas daisy] and Asparagas; Line to bring colour and visual interest to the arrangement = Delphinium and Eucalyptus.

(b) The form as an arrangement is classified as Mass – i.e. using a large volume of flowers and greenery, with little or no space between the stems; Line – i.e. minimal flowers and greenery; and Line Mass – i.e. somewhere between Mass and Line, a merge of two styles.

Texture, Depth and Space are also important elements to heighten visual interest and give a natural feel to the finished design.

When considering colour think about what neutralises and enhances your design, e.g. dark colours give depth to pastel colours and lighter shades can energise darker stems. There are four colour harmonies that have worked for centuries giving a lot of pleasure in the process:

(i) Monochromatic colour – can be the most eye catching and particularly with the neutral colour green.

(ii) Adjacent colours – those closest to each other on the colour wheel, yellow-orange and orange.

(iii) Complementary- colours that are directly opposite each on the colour wheel, e.g. yellow and purple can be very energetic and visually interesting.

(iv) Polychromatic – all colours mixed together to create a vibrant and cheerful display.

Balance is very important in flower arrangements, both physical, ie. the arrangement stays upright and doesn’t tip over, and visual, if for example there are too many flowers at the front of the arrangement it will create an effect that the vase is about to fall over. Two fundamental factors to consider here are both symmetrical and asymmetrical balance. Symmetrical – examples are the human body, classical Greek and Roman art, architecture etc. In other words the weight is balanced across the arrangement and thereby creating a restful and upright display; Asymmetrical – examples can be found amongst the art and artefacts of Japan and China. In floral arrangements both long and short stems are used, masses of flowers might be found lower on one side only, the adjacent side might have twigs or a line form that towers above the lower stems.

Spring/Easter

Summer

Autumn

Winter/Christmas

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Flor Unikon Flower School

At Flor Unikon’s Flower School you will learn techniques and essential skills for creating beautiful flower bouquets and floral arrangements in the most natural style. All their courses can be tailored for both group and individual coaching and are aimed at both the professional and hobbyist.

Each student is encouraged to study what is happening ‘live’ in nature in regard to colour combinations, groupings/placement, contrasts of heights, shapes and textures, as inspiration for their floral work.

Vase Decoration workshops

Flor Unikon’s Head Tutor, Pasi (pictured above), runs a series of Vase decoration workshops for each of the four seasons, using two different decorating techniques. The main focus is on flower variety, colour, vase selection, height and placement.

Seasonal Table Decoration Workshops

This short workshop can be a fun way of bringing family, friends or even work colleagues together for two to three hours of relaxed creativity.

Christmas Wreath Workshops

Flor Unikon’s seasonal table and door wreath workshops are highly creative and fun activities for decorating your home for Christmas. Students are firstly taught the traditional technique of weaving natural Christmas branches onto a straw wreath base; and secondly, they learn two methods of decorating their wreaths using natural materials such as berries, dried fruits and nuts. Finally, they are taught how to wire and insert Advent candles to create a table decoration for the Advent season and how to wire the wreath for hanging on their front door.

The Flor Unikon Flower School is based in Helsinki, London, Portugal and Sicily but workshops can be organised in any location, depending on group numbers and training days required.

Posted in Advent wreath workshop, Christmas wreath workshop, Door wreath workshop, Flower school, Flowers, Helsinki Flower School, London flower school, Portugal flower school, Seasonal table decoration workshop, Table decoration workshop, Uncategorized, Vase decoration workshop, sicily flower school | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Weddings and events at the Gherkin

We have been booked to decorate for a variety of events at the Gherkin Tower during 2015/16. The first of the Autumn season took place earlier this month on a most glorious sunny day.

Ann, one of our most experienced Floral Designers took the lead in preparing very pretty button holes for the Groom and his best men – using Ivy, Astranthia and Snowberry.

Our delivery van was so packed with wedding vases and an assortments of flowers and greenery that there was only enough room for our driver. The rest of us followed in taxis.

Interestingly, the Bride didn’t want a bouquet but instead wanted lots of tall vases overflowing with flowers and greenery, one for each guest table, two for the Registrar desk and finally a larger arrangement for the lobby area on the 39th floor. The lobby space would be the first glimpse that guests would have of the wedding decorations; for this reason we created a very lush and a much taller arrangement for maximum impact.

The Registrar flower vases graced the foreground of magnificent vistas of London on the 39th floor. What a wonderful distraction for our Floral Designers!

Following the Registrar Ceremony the wedding guests climbed a short flight of stairs to the 40th floor for an official blessing. During this short period both Searcy’s and Flor Unikon staff helped to transform the Registrar setting to a lush dining room.

The Wedding table vases looked equally stunning, with Thlaspi, Laurel, Hydrangeas and Avalanche Roses.

A big thanks to Jose Tio, our talented wedding and event photographer for his amazing and creative imagery and Searcy’s Restaurant Staff for their helpful cooperation and support.

Posted in Flowers, Gherkin weddings, Jose Tio, Jose Tio - wedding photographer, Searcy's Restaurant, Uncategorized, Wedding Bouquet, button holes, registrar, wedding decorations, wedding photographer, wedding table vases, wedding vases | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wedding Shoot at the Andrea Hawkes Studio, Amwell Street

The wedding season may be in full flow but its vital that we continue to promote our services for 2016 and beyond. Therefore when wedding dress designer Andrea Hawkes asked us to collaborate on a wedding shoot we welcomed the opportunity to show off our new collection of bespoke Bridal bouquets.

Andrea Hawkes creates bespoke bridal, evening and occasional dresses for individual clients based on her beautiful collection of gowns. All pieces are made in her London studio using high quality European silks and French laces.

Our brief for the wedding shoot was to create tasteful arrangements using soft floral shades of white and green  with a stronger shade to contrast the neutral background of Andrea’s studio and the white/cream shades of her wedding gowns.

In the bouquet, pictured above and below, we used plump Peonies and lush Dalhias as the main flowers, for texture and interest we added Astranthia, Nigella and Phlox, purple Clematis for the contrast shade, and a few wild stems of Alchemilla and Thlaspi. Overall we love this very relaxed country garden style bouquet.

Credits:

Photographer: Owen Richards Bouquet: Pasi at Flor Unikon Flowers Make up: Panda Makeup Hair: The Hairdressers London

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Flowers to decorate a banquet

We were asked recently to create a series of floral decorations for an exclusive banquet at a private chapel in Leatherhead, Surrey.  Our brief and challenge was to use pure white flowers without the event looking like a wedding party.

We therefore avoided using the more traditional wedding flowers such as Roses and Lilies; instead we selected Agapanthus, Calla Lily, and Delphinium stems for the taller decorations that graced the entrance, reception and the old chapel, and Hydrangeas and Peonies for the banquet table decorations.

The white starched linen, the crystal glass and our chic table decorations helped to create an elegant banqueting table.

The raised Delphinium vase almost towered above the entrance to the old chapel; their upper buds created an interesting foreground texture against the stonewall background.

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Algarve Weddings

Portugal is this summer season’s fashionable choice for a destination wedding. And talking of seasons, Flor Unikon and The Seasons Restaurant, Albufeira, recently played host to a wedding party, with a seaside theme.

We drew inspiration for the wedding flowers from the hues and shades of local stone buildings, sandy and pebbled beaches, and the azure sky and sea.

Locally sourced seashells filled with sand made wonderful textured vases for Scabiosa stems.

Hydrangea petals were used to enhance the linen tableware, that was kindly supplied by stylist Victor Afonso.

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Flor Unikon Flowers at Anthropologie

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show has traditionally inspired many of us to create something beautiful with our favourite blooms. And with celebrations of Chelsea in mind, the internationally renowned retailer, Anthropologie, asked us to host a flower workshop at one of their London branches on Marylebone High street.

This event sold out within days of advertising and so no surprise that there was quite a buzz of excitement when Pasi (lead Trainer) and Jenny (Student trainer) arrived with bunches of country garden flowers.

After Pasi’s initial bouquet demonstration it was the turn of our delegates to create their own country garden arrangement for a petit vase, using Peonies, Alliums, Alstromeria, Sweet Peas and Thlaspi.

Thirty happy students left today’s workshop with very creatively filled vases along with a plethora of floral inspired purchases made in-store.

A big thanks to Anthropologie for allowing us to host this event and also to Azkhuu Tsamba for his stunning photographs.

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Martina Liana and Flor Unikon at the White Gallery, May 2015

Our floral designs for wedding dress designer Martina Liana at the White Gallery were much admired by visitors and other designers. The brief from Martina’s team was to create a contemporary but classic setting using pure white blooms with fresh greenery.

We used Avalanche Roses, Hydrangeas, Peonies, Phlox and Thlaspi to create elegant and lush arrangements that beautifully showcased Martina’s chic gowns; they would also make ideal centre pieces for wedding ceremony and reception displays.

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