Japanese florist Azuma Makoto creates botanical sculptures for Dior Parfums
Azuma Makoto, the floral artist who started Tokyo’s “flower butcher shop” and sent a bonsai into space, launches his new collaboration with Dior Parfums
Japanese florist Azuma Makoto thinks flowers are like prayers. “From birth to birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, sympathy, encouragement and even death, we entrust our various emotions to flowers and live with them,” he says.
‘When I work with flowers every day, I notice that the flowers are never arranged with one hand, but always with the other hand. It’s like I’m praying, and I feel like it’s in line with prayer, because I’m tying the flowers as if I’m confiding my feelings to them.
Makoto’s singular and devotional approach to flowers makes him one of the most intriguing creatives working in the field of floristry today. Its Tokyo store, Jardins des Fleurs, is designed as a “flower butcher’s shop”, where employees in white coats remove “live” flowers from a refrigerator in the center of the store, before cutting them and arranging them on steel table top.
Past projects include freezing blocks of flowers for Dries Van Noten, filming a 50-year-old bonsai tree in space, and now collaborating with Dior Parfums on a series of “botanical sculptures.”
For this latest collaboration, Makoto created eight sculptures, each inspired by a classic fragrance from Dior’s La Collection Privée fragrance library and photographed by Makoto’s longtime friend and collaborator, Shunsuke Shiinoki. The final collection of photographs is a series of compelling works that visualize otherwise ephemeral scents.
“La Collection Privée Christian Dior perfumes are full of the beauty and richness of floral scents that intersect and mingle,” says Makoto. “I wanted to visualize these images of flowers in multiple layers.”
Fragrances such as Sakura are expressed through a verdant profession of cherry blossoms and other pink flowers. The fragrance is inspired by the moment of spring when cherry blossoms bloom. Makoto therefore chose to create ‘a very light and subtle pink universe that really symbolizes the acute but understated sense of beauty that we have in Japan’.
Other creations see a great mix of colors and flower types, such as carving for Oud Rosewood, a smoky, woody scent that Makoto has recreated through shades of brown, “and soft, creamy flowers in rounded shapes, illuminated by a touch of precious radiance”. .
“I believe flowers have the mysterious power to appeal to people’s deepest emotions and memories, not just superficial ones,” Makoto says. “They’re not just beautiful. They’re mysterious and essential to humans, birds, insects, animals, and all creatures alike. I think every species of flower, every moment of its life , is venerable and beautiful in its own existence.