Hot off the heels of hosting our flower-pressing event at The Edition Hotel, floral-focused set designer Gemma Hayden Blest took the time to tell us about her work, travels and just what makes flowers such an alluring gift all over the world.
How would you describe your practice? Could you tell us a little about your background and how you came to work with botanicals specifically?
I originally studied Fashion Design, followed by stints at Alexander McQueen then Burberry. I quickly realized that what I loved about fashion was not the product development of garments. I now work somewhere between set design and floristry. Instead of fabrics and trims, I now create with petals and stems - but most of the jobs I do have fashion related briefs.
You've travelled, lived and worked in some pretty far flung places, from Hong Kong to LA to London. How has each place had an impact on your practice?
I find a lot of inspiration in exploring new places. Flowers have deep roots in society and the way countries use them. I enjoy the challenge of working to varied social needs and tastes. Hong Kong is an extremely fast paced working environment with deeply superstitious values. White is often a colour associated with death so needs to be avoided, as is the number 4 which must be considered during arranging.