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Meet Tokyo’s Most Daring Florist

Meet Tokyo’s Most Daring Florist

Floral artist Makoto Azuma pushes the boundaries of art, fashion, and nature with his experimental creations that show up in otherworldly settings. … “Iced Flowers” for Dries Van Noten 2017 S/S women’s show, 2016 Paris, France. Photo courtesy of AMKK. Can floral arrangements be rock ‘n’ roll? If they come from Makoto Azuma , they surely can—and not just because the Japanese flower artist has played bass in a grunge band. In his hands, flowers find themselves in impossible places, doing unnatural things: Bonsai trees travel to outer space and the deep sea; blossoms are encased in ice blocks and planted onto a Dries Van Noten runway; unruly bouquets are used as props in Danish punk rock performances. At Jardins des Fleurs , the retail shop Azuma operates on a quiet backstreet in Tokyo’s Aoyama district, an unassuming steel staircase at the entrance leads to a completely refrigerated subterranean space more reminiscent of a lab than a florist’s studio. There, white-coated workers shuffle between stainless steel tables, clipping and arranging ultraviolet cattleya orchids. Some of the staff are working on one-of-a-kind bouquets for clients; others are conducting what Azuma calls “floral experimentations” for Azuma Makoto Flower Laboratory (AMKK), the botanical art collective he cofounded with photographer Shunsuke Shiiki. Similar to the way sushi chefs maintain important relationships with their suppliers at Tokyo’s largest fish market, Azuma visits the Ota flower market three times each week, buying his flowers directly from wholesalers he’s worked with for years. Like a master chef, he uses his own custom tool: a pair of handmade iron clippers crafted to fit his hand. … Makoto Azuma at his shop; the back of Azuma’s work coat, with silk-screened project illustrations. Photos: Satomi Yamauchi. It’s through AMKK that Azuma has made his most astonishing creations, from the […]

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