Thursday, June 15, 2017

Q&A with Zoe & Ian from Botanica International Design

Sometimes we forget what a luxury it is to have world renowned designers come to our headquarters and collaborate on our photoshoots. Not because we aren't in great admiration of their work but merely because when you get into a grind you sometimes become numb to some of the mystique and uniqueness of our industry. That's why when the newest member of our creative team recently sat down with Zoe & Ian from Botanica International Design Studio during the fall/winter collection shoot she couldn't help but be a little starstruck while chatting with the talented duo. See what the father / daughter powerhouse behind our Calexico and Elusive Dynasty shoots had to say...


DEPENDING ON THE PROJECT - IN THIS INSTANCE YOU ARE SETTING UP PHOTOSHOOT SETS, WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH? HOW DID THIS COLLABORATION COME ABOUT?

Zoe: Margaret reached out to me, she had heard me speak at SAF (Society of American Florists) a couple of times and said she liked my style. I told her that I can create the concepts but I can't physically design so he (Ian) is my design guru. That's why our partnership works well for both projects like this as well as our business because we bounce ideas off of one another and we both take the lead with our personal skill set.
Ian: I think we make a good team because when I'm focusing on the flowers, Zoe is focusing on the setup. So for something like what we are doing here at Accent Decor, the process is so much more efficient rather than one person trying to accomplish everything. Things can happen faster, because there are two of us but being able to get that other person's perspective is how we attack a project like this or an event back home.

HOW WOULD YOU SAY YOU APPROACH A PROJECT LIKE THIS DIFFERENTLY THAN AN EVENT?

Z: It's actually kind of the same thing, our client here is Accent Decor versus a bride. It's essentially the same thing where we are executing and collaborating on someone's vision.
I: A shoot like this is all about creating a lifestyle that invites people to want to sit on a sofa or read a book. That's what we do in our everyday life: creating inviting environments. We take a look at the idea boards from the AD team, send over our thoughts and our flower list depending on the look and feel we are going for. Zoe really is the person that decides on the look and then I suggest which flowers and elements would best help achieve that look.

TALK TO US A BIT ABOUT CALEXICO...
I: I think the planters add a lot to the story since each space is so casual and effortless. The plants play an important part because you have plants kind of everywhere with just small accents of flowers. We wanted to create a feel that someone had been basking in the sun while sipping a cocktail.
Z: I like that everything is very neutral, tone on tone and very calming. But then you have the brighter and bolder aspects to the collection to which is a lot of fun. I love the baskets from the collection, they're so simple but are super versatile.

...TALK TO US ABOUT ELUSIVE DYNASTY...
Z: I'm super drawn to the richness of it all. All of the different textures of containers and sizes and shapes paired with the color palette. Like this wall, [points to studio wall painted by Jessica xxx] I just want to take this home with me and put it in my house!!
I: As Zoe said, it's the combination of containers that makes this collection so fun. They evoke this feeling of: I've had these in my closet forever. They're all mismatched which gives such an eclectic look especially when you mix them in with trendier containers and throw in some traditional ones as well.

WHAT TIPS OR TRICKS DO YOU HAVE FOR OUR READERS TO BEST RECREATE LOOKS THEY SEE?

Z: It's all about shopping around. Taking your inspiration board and seeing what you can find across all price points and mixing and matching higher priced items with lower priced goods.
I: Always keep in mind the resources at hand that don't overly cost money. For instance, we repurposed the red bar stools from your break room to enhance the feel of a bar for the patio shoot - which was great because we didn't have to spend money to rent anything!

IS THERE A CURRENT TREND IN THE FLORAL WORLD YOU'RE "OVER"?
I: Blush pink. Over it. It's been around for such a long time, and just as it was about to disappear Pantone named it as color of the year - so here it comes back again! And the color itself has gotten paler - which is really hard to find in florals. There's just such a fine line between between blush and baby pink. We don't want a wedding looking like a baby shower!

HOW ABOUT A TREND YOU'RE CURRENTLY LOVING?
Z: I'm really enjoying the heavy greenery with lots of texture and very messy. It's like there's no such thing as too messy! Which actually takes more work for an arrangement or a bouquet to look that way!
I: When we had the Martha Stewart trend years ago, where everything was compact that was quite easy for even an untrained designer. This look however, separates the men from the boys because it's much harder to accomplish the undone look where it seems as if everything's just been picked from Monet's garden. I'm more of a romantic designer - that's my happy place - so this garden-y look is what I was trained in 40 odd years ago and what I'm ultimately drawn to. I love, if a client has a garden to run out there and clip things from there to add to arrangements to make them more personal.
Z: I also love when people spice things up a bit... You're seeing a lot of people mixing that English romance with something different like protea or they have a bunch of romantic foliage that they mix with tropical foliage...
I: Which is exactly the opposite of anything I was ever taught! But the drama of the big leaf or the surprise element has become the fun part!

IF WE WERE TO COME IN EITHER OF YOUR HOMES TODAY... WHAT TYPE OF ARRANGEMENT IS EITHER ON YOUR KITCHEN OR COFFEE TABLE?
I: I like flowers in one container representing only one variety. I always, always have four vases in my living room. I only use white because I don't want the flower to take away from the environment. My house is filled with greys and charcoal so all of the containers are silver. Presently, one has white lisianthus, one has garden roses, one has tulips and the other one has white stalk. I'm very simple.
Z: I'm the same way... but it's usually something I've taken from the cooler! I don't like to bother a designer to make anything for me but I always love for my bathroom to have a budvase in it.
I: With a weird, funky flower.
Z: Yea... that's true! Like a protea or scabiosa.. but really, whatever's up for grabs!

DAY TO DAY, WHICH ACCENT DECOR PRODUCTS DO YOU FIND YOURSELF USING TIME AND TIME AGAIN?
Z: A lot of them!
I: Candlesticks (Candle holders)!
Z: Oh, for sure! Lots of candlesticks! Your Monet candleholders, the Athena candleholder in both gold and silver and wide variety of crystal candlesticks.
I: All of the votives that we have are AD. Lots of mercury these days. But the vase I love the most is the Bespoke vase: it has presence and it's visually heavy so it's always proportionate to the large arrangements that are sitting on top.
Z: Ooh, the Audrey lanterns! We absolutely love those! They've become a huge hit!
I: The facets, the way the candle glows, the shape... it just sparkles!

Ian & Zoe's recent sets (starting top left) Wanderlust, Eric & Eloise, event setting & Calexico





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