Flower House Mexico 2018

In November, I had the pleasure of participating in Flower House Mexico, a charity event to benefit patients at Mexico City’s Instituto Nacional di Cancerologia. Organized by a wonderful group of women in Mexico, and fashioned after Flower House Detroit (where an abandoned house was transformed into a floral wonderland), several US-based designers (including myself) came down to Mexico City to bring our individual inspiration to a series of spaces at an abandoned apartment complex.

Committing to a project like this was a big leap for me, as it meant being away from home and family for a week, as well as blocking my schedule and declining business - which is always a difficult decision. However, when organizer Pili asked me to participate, and explained how the money raised was going to help cancer patients with no ability to afford treatment on their own, I truly felt that it was something important, both for the recipients, and for me. Sometimes it’s hard to take the time to give back, but when done, always well worth it!

In the end, the US design team consisted of myself, Ariella Chezar, Nicolette Owen (Nicolette Camille), Jill Rizzo (Studio Choo East), and Studio Mondine. Each of us had a designated apartment within the complex, and a set of students who had paid for the learning experience. Essentially, it was a massive, intensive workshop, but where all of the proceeds went to charity. In all, nearly $30,000 was raised for the charity, which is helping countless cancer patients with treatment. The images below are of my space and students, but I encourage you to check out the other designer’s Instagram feeds and websites for their images and experiences as well.

I was excited to have this apartment assigned to me, as I was excited to have the tiles in the hallway which led to a beautiful turquoise bathroom.

I was excited to have this apartment assigned to me, as I was excited to have the tiles in the hallway which led to a beautiful turquoise bathroom.

This basket was lined with chicken wire and then filled with whatever carnations I could get my hands on. With many thanks to my wonderful students who arranged all of the flowers within.

This basket was lined with chicken wire and then filled with whatever carnations I could get my hands on. With many thanks to my wonderful students who arranged all of the flowers within.

We built a series of floral chandeliers. Here is lovely  Paulina  at work in one of our rooms.

We built a series of floral chandeliers. Here is lovely Paulina at work in one of our rooms.

Mexico wouldn’t be Mexico without marigolds and bright, bold colors. Lovely  Marianna  and our wonderful house chef  Coco  brought me all of the citrus for this color filled installation in one of the rooms.

Mexico wouldn’t be Mexico without marigolds and bright, bold colors. Lovely Marianna and our wonderful house chef Coco brought me all of the citrus for this color filled installation in one of the rooms.

Students at work on the chandeliers!

Students at work on the chandeliers!

Team lunches every day at the apartments.

Team lunches every day at the apartments.

My demonstration bouquet during the initial teaching portion of the event, prior to everyone breaking into groups and working on the installations.

My demonstration bouquet during the initial teaching portion of the event, prior to everyone breaking into groups and working on the installations.

Another room in our apartment. I love gladiolus, and there were an abundance of them at the flower market, which was amazing!

Another room in our apartment. I love gladiolus, and there were an abundance of them at the flower market, which was amazing!

Image credits: Corbin Gurkin

Tulipina Austria

I am always in search of doing something outside the box and stepping away from my comfort zone, so when the time came for one of my annual winter workshops, I thought "how amazing would it be if we embraced winter and went somewhere magical - with an old-world charm and snowy landscape". Given that I love Austria, and had contacts there, I decided to do a workshop high up in the Austrian Alps. I have to admit, the very notion of getting people and flowers all the way to the Alps in the heart of winter was very scary. Nevertheless, I had already announced it and gotten the ball rolling, so there was no going back.

Bischoferalm Chalet / Jose Villa

Bischoferalm Chalet / Jose Villa

Kiana teaching / Jose Villa

Kiana teaching / Jose Villa

In my world, there really is no room for failure. I "go big or go home". I asked the wonderful Jose Villa to come and photograph the workshop, and he was gracious enough to agree and accompany me on this crazy endeavor. Additionally, Natasja Sadi agreed to join us and show the attendees (and me) how she creates her amazing sugar flowers. Tatyana Kochnova made us some beautiful custom gowns in Saint Petersburg and had them sent over, and Gabrielle Hurwitz was able to bring some other lovely gowns from (different makers).

Klara with ranunculus / Jose Villa

Klara with ranunculus / Jose Villa

Klara with headpiece in bath / Jose Villa

Klara with headpiece in bath / Jose Villa

Sugar flowers by Natasja Sadi / Jose Villa

Sugar flowers by Natasja Sadi / Jose Villa

Natalia Khlopova was able to secure us a lovely chalet - Bischoferalm - high in the mountains via a single lane road, which Franz (the owner) had to cart us up and down multiple times per day.

With the chalet full with attendees, i, along with my family and Jose Villa, stayed at an amazing castle (Schloss Matzen) - a true fairy tale adventure.

Castle Schloss Matzen / Jose Villa

Castle Schloss Matzen / Jose Villa

Finally, Joost at Florabundance really hooked us up with the most beautiful Dutch flowers direct from Holland, delivered in myriad boxes by a very alpine FedEx driver.

The snow fell thickly and frequently, and it couldn't have been more magical - a true dream-come-true workshop.

Klara at Castle Schloss Matzen / Jose Villa

Klara at Castle Schloss Matzen / Jose Villa

Table setting at chalet Bischoferalm / Jose Villa

Table setting at chalet Bischoferalm / Jose Villa

Credits:

Floral Design and Styling: @tulipinadesign

Photography: @josevilla

Event Coordination: @event.austria

Cinematography: @studio_moments

Hair + Makeup: @adrianah.bridal

Model: @klara_vizar

Gown Styling: @gabriellehurwitz

Veils: @hushedcommotion and @daphnenewmandesign

Cake and Sugar Flowers: @cakeatelieramsterdam

Floral Hat: @hushedcommotion with @cakeatelieramsterdam

Flowers: @florabundanceinc

Welcome Illustrations: @amandagomesdesign

Jewelry: @jenniferbehr

Rings: @heidigibsondesigns

Wedding Dresses (Blue, Blush Ruffles): @tatyanakochnova

Wedding Dresses: (High Neck from Day One) @christoscostarellos via @spinabride

Wedding Dresses (Short, Long Sleeves): @chanamarelus via @spinabride