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Mrs. Francesca’s life

May 31, 2010

 Till now, we have been travelling over  the  great world of flowers, trying to go beyond the appereances, the well-known sides of such a common thing (as most people could think), still so unveiled. We have seen the general market, the supply, the differences between stallholders and shopkeepers, … , but it seemed interesting  to me to know something more from a “personal” point of view. We are used to read about numbers, statistics, supply, demand, but let’s stop for one moment and think what there is behind them: just… people. Therefore, I decided to make an interview, in order to understand how a common person’s life, involved with flowers,works

I managed to talk to a nice lady in a floral shop, Mrs. Francesca.

Do you own the shop or do you just run it? How long have you been owning (running) it?

The shop is not mine, but I’ve been running this activity for 15 years.

What are the difficulties and/or the advantages of running it?

The main difficulty is being able to find always fresh products, but I’m rewarded by the vantage of living in a world full of colors.

 

Were the passion or other needs to lead  you to set this activity? How did you manage to do it?

My parents were florists too, but I love my job: I think it’s all about passion. In order to start it up, I had to ask the Municipality the permission after I had found the workroom.

Might you describe your typical day? (referring to your activity of florist, of course)

At 7 am I reach the wholesaler of my area, or twice a week I wait for another grosser who tries to sell me flowers. Not always I buy them from him, because I trust more my own wholesaler: I can be sure that they are really fresh. After choosing the flowers I need, I go to the shop. Then, I start doing some cleanings and preparing posies already ordered for that day: every time I’m always allured by the transformation from the simple flower to the arrangement themselves. Eventually, around lunch time, I provide for the home delivery with own my car.

How do you manage to get your products?

Before arriving to the shop, flowers are in big greenhouses; then the florist  bring them to the floral market. My wholesaler goes to the market at 3.00 am and buy flowers for his customers, so that they are ready at 8.00 am in his storage. Sometimes  he buys flowers from other countries, such as Holland, Ecuador and Colombia, especially if he needs roses or beautiful tropical blossoms. In this case, there are some companies that deal with importing and distributing them to the wholesales.

 

According to you, does the position of your shop influence the sells?

The position of the shop can surely make the difference for the customers.

What do you think is your vantage point?

Actually, a vantage point doesn’t exist. A philosophy of work does exist. It’s important to focus on just few products and specialize on them. Creating a faith in your customers is fundamental, and you can do it providing the best products, original arrangements, respecting your clients and their money because you should supply a good service if they spend 5€ or 50€. My client is important and unique, and has a special treatment every day, every moment. When they make order by telephone, they cannot see the product, but they need to sure about  it, about the fact that they have done a good choice which will be appreciated. In this way, who has received flowers is one of my potential client, my future client.

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“Floral” Japanese

May 28, 2010

Maybe odd to hear , but Japanese people are in the forefront inspiring tendencies, and being therefore one of the most important poles of the world for design. In Japan “design is everywhere”, we could say and, once more, even in flowers. Let’s take this example:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name: Hanahana

Designer: Kazuyo Sejima

Year: 2006

Company: Driade

Materials: polished stainless steel

Height: 160 cm

Price: 1,100.00 €

It seems a tree decorated with blossoms, but it is in fact a charming flower box, traced by sophisticated and gentle signs. The designer was very clever to mould very thin steel tubular, in order to create  a stylized shape, mostly two-dimensional. Moreover, the brightness of the material emphasize the preciousness of the lines and it is a perfect decorative object both for inner or outer side.

 

 

Few notes about the designer are right and proper: Kazuyo Sejima is a famous Japanese architect who will curate the 12th Annual International Architecture Exhibition, to be held next August. She is the first woman ever selected for this position. This year she was awarded the Pritzker Prize, together with Ryue Nishizawa.

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Principle of communicating vessels

May 27, 2010

One of the subjects I didn’t like at all at school was physics, but I recognize it is one of those subjects you always trip over during your life. Even if you are talking about flowers…

Acquacalda“, a group of Italian designers working in experimental design, has developed an interesting project, “Applied physics“, based on the application of the most important scientific concepts to everyday objects. It seems to be very appealing because it stimulates the user’s curiosity and interactivity, drawing up in a simple way common instruments and physical theories. One of them is surely related to our topic.

 

 

“VASCO” is a container with water reserve, due to the plant can feed itself, using the water in the bottle, if necessary. You could have also the advantage to check the level of the water and the need to refuel constantly and more easily.

 

 

“COMMUNICATING VASE”, instead, is a vase for cut flowers: a transparent tube is added to a ceramic vase, in order to “communicate” the water remaining inside.

Both of the projects are based on the principle of the communicating vessels, according to which a liquid inside two containers communicating with each other reaches the same level, regardless of the shape and volume of the conteiners.  If additional liquid is added to one vessel, the liquid will again find a new equal level in all the connected vessels.

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The exception proves the rule

May 25, 2010

In Italy, for sure, we are far from sellers of flowers like him:

 

…still, there is someone who is even further from the common Italian sellers…

A simple stall, without a lot of flowers or particular bunches, no more than others, no more than a…stall. Moreover, while I was wandering I’ve seen bigger, more colored and supplied stalls. Still, you can see the owner so proud of his small stall. The secret? It stands at the corner between via Montenapoleone and via A. Manzoni, two of the most fashionable streets of Milan.

 

 

When I asked him the average buy, he answered : “from 10 to 100 to 1000€… and also more!” – “Pardon?!” – I would never, never thought it would be possible! Yet, he is in a place sooooooooooo strategic! Thanks to his position, a lot of people (very, very rich people!) who live around there buy flowers from him, preferring the stall to the shop because of the (relatively) lower prices of a bunch of  blooms. In addition, he works on commission (for these very, very rich people) and prepares wonderful (and expensive!) floral compositions. Who never been said?!

 

 

As I have already told you, he told me he is very proud of his job: he wakes up at 5.30 in the morning, in order to reach his stall as on time as the workers and early riser passers-by start their day as well. His work lasts till 10 pm in summer and around 8 pm  when it gets colder (on the average, he works for about 14 hours!). As the other stallholders, he had to get the license for selling on a public area from municipality: it was a long and hard process (“you know, the bureaucracy”), but finally he managed to do it.  He didn’t tell me, but as I saw another foreign man helping him while I was there, I supposed he earns enough money to hire someone: after all, this is just the proof  that people spend lots of money buying flowers from him.

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Anne Rees: a hobbyist’s point of view

May 23, 2010

She loves food, shoes and nail polish;

she hates America;

she thinks English is the best language in the world;

she is too vital (surely, more than us);

she is Anne Rees, my English teacher during these two semesters of University.

Oh, I forgot! She loves flowers as well, of course! :-)

Talking to her during one class, she said she likes blossoms and takes care of them, and since I told her about myblog, everytime she has some news about them, she tells me.

For instance, it happened when she went to Orticola, some days ago. Therefore, I coldn’t waste the chance to ask her what she did and her impressions too about that day.

This is what she told me:

“The other day I went to Orticola in the Giardini Pubblici, and each time I go it seems to be getting bigger and more varied. It was a beatiful day, not too hot, so neither the flowers, nor the visitors were wilting. The best time to go is in the morning before the crowds arrive. This year I noticed you could hire little green wheelbarrows to carry your purchase around; unfortunately, coming by underground means that you can’t really buy as much as you’d like to.

What is really nice is the relaxed atmosphere. The stallholders are all willing to give you information and advice, even if you don’t buy from them. I particularly like the stalls which oly sell one kind of plant. There were spectacular ones devoted to geraniums of all kinds, but my favourite is the one which specialises in lavenders. The had a lot of unusual kinds but not, unfortunately, the kind I was looking for, real English lavender.

Of course there were a lot of roses, but living in Monza and visiting he rose gardens there, I feel I’m a bit of an “expert”, so I was not unduly impressed by the variety. there was one which caught my eye though (and my nose): it was a striped rose called “Scentsation”.

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Me @ the fair

May 23, 2010

As I told you, last Saturday I went to Orticola: such a lovely event!

It was drizzleling (and in fact I hate the rain!) but, since I’m doing this blog, I couldn’t have missed it. I think it’s the biggest fair-market in Milan or, at least, it’s surely the most famous.

This year, it organized a lot of little events, such as a fun treasure hunt, a competition among some designers for furniture and tools already in production, a stand where a florist showed how to create a bunch of fresh flowers, or a special place, all dedicated to children, providing labs and activities for kids 1-8 year old.

It joined also some partnerships with “Casa & Country”, a magazine distributed to all registered visitors, My style, that created a bag, and Henry Cotton’s which realized some aprons.

The ticket price was 7 € (last year it was 6.5€) and there were 160 exhibitors, other signs that its notoriety is growing.

Despite the rain, lots of people were there (honestly, some women had really odd hats!), and I really enjoyed it: it was a very nice experience, especially because I could notice how arrengers’ passion can drive to organize such a big event, and visitors’ one can join each other.

Still, just one thing missed: guess what? The sun, of course!

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Exhibitions @ Milan

May 20, 2010

Flowers are a subject widely exploited by lots of famous artists. Only in the latest years, many of them, from the Renaissance to the contemporary art, have been hosted in Milan, which provides so many chances to exhibit them thanks to a large number of museums.

We could just think to…

MONET…

  

 

…GUAGUIN…

 

 

…VAN GOGH…

 

 

…CARAVAGGIO…

 

 

…WARHOL…