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McQueens Flower School

Venice Biennale

Over the past 21 years, McQueens Flower School has built a reputation for craftsmanship and innovation - leading to invitations from all over the globe to share in their creativity and passion for flowers. The latest international commission was a unique assignment from one of London’s leading cultural and educational organisations, The Courtauld Institute of Art.

The brief was to create a floral art piece inspired by their rich collection for a special reception to mark the opening week at La Biennale di Venizia. The world-renowned exhibition is dedicated to new artists and creative trends, spanning six months of exhibitions and events throughout the iconic Italian city.

“Our philosophy at the school is rooted in creating, educating and inspiring," explains McQueens Flower School Principal, Sophie Powell. “It was an honour to apply this ethos to a design for the Courtauld Institute of Art as part of such an esteemed exhibition.”
Two thirds of the school team, Alina (left) and Sophie (right) began by assembling the steel frame.
Christophe adding the finishing touches to the almost finished art piece.
Our team of extraordinary tutors were commissioned to create an installation drawing inspiration from The Courtauld's collection of Impressionist masterpieces. Titled ‘En Plein Air’ (a term used to describe painting outdoorsr) took a bold and playful approach, dramatically magnifying and depicting the beauty of an artists' individual brush stroke in striking monochromatic bursts of colour. The display sat central to the Courtauld's reception celebrating it's alumni in the incredible ancient surroundings of the open cloister of the palace. Built by the Knights Templar eight centuries ago, it provided the perfect contrast to the brightly-coloured art piece. A cornucopia of flowers was used in the design, from blousy hydrangea to tangerine-coloured ranunculus, vivid delphinium to delicate lisianthus. In addition to the floral installation, another tribute to the Courtauld collection included 80 hand-crafted origami elephants featuring prominent works from the collection. These were displayed and then gifted to guests as a memento of the special evening.?

School Tutor Alina Dhere Babaletsos explained the creative process -

“It’s always exciting working to such a creative brief" explained McQueens Flower School Tutor Alina Dhere Babaletsos " It was wonderful to collaborate with the Courtauld, and having studied art history, I found it a real joy to take inspiration from the collection. Rich with Impressionist masters, Cézanne captured our imagination, and as a forefather of Fauvism, we loved the idea of using a bold, modern design juxtaposed against the medieval setting..”
Floral detail depecting the contrast of bold floral design and ancient architecture.
En Plein Air - designed and created by the tutors of McQueens Flower School
McQueens Flower School regularly goes on tour, sharing its unrivalled passion for floral education across the globe, from Seoul to Mexico City, This was, however, the first time for the team in glorious Venice, which proved to be a wonderful creative experience.

Describing the opportunity, School tutor Christophe added “It was a special opportunity to travel with the team to a new city,”

“It was a special opportunity to travel with the team to a new city" Explained McQueens Flower School tutor Christophe Berreterot. "We work together very closely, and to have the chance to create an innovative design on this scale in such a unique setting was a privilege. We love exploring new environments, and a city with no cars, bicycles or modern architecture was like working on a stage! It had its own set of challenges, but watching the flowers arrive by boat was quite emotional!”
Centre-stagee - En Plein Air during of The Courtauld's reception at The Venice Biennale.
Instrumental to the display was a geometric metal structure created by our friends, Julian Carter Designs. Describing the frame, Julian explained “The box shapes are made from 6mm steel rod; they interest me because they have structure and at the same time, virtually no form. When placed together they create infinite possibilities and positioned in combinations against a white background they become three-dimensional line drawings.”

To find out more about our talented team of tutors and the programme of floristry workshops and courses, follow McQueens Flower School Instagram and discover more at here.

Venice Biennale

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