Every time I spend a few days in Brussels I like to pay a quick visit to the man, the artist , the genius , that created impressive flower arrangements at my sister’ wedding in the beautiful Chateau Saint’ Anne.
And what is most incredible is that the storefront of his is floral emporium feels like a breath of fresh — and beautifully perfumed — air.
Once called “La Chemiserie Niguet” the shop was designed by the master architect Paul Hankar at the beginning of this century, is without any doubt one of the most out- standing jewels of Art Nouveau in the city with an elegant , austere and exotic paradoxical touch of Japonisme.
This man, also a master of a kind, is called Daniel Ost and is considered by many as the world’s foremost floral designer and sculptor. Daniel has the unique ability to envision life through flowers and creates absolute beauty through his passion and art. He has fashioned his own world of astonishing floral designs, which have earned him a devoted international clientele.
Recently the art and fashion worlds have also become acquainted with the 53-year-old floral designer: he created the arrangements for the opening of the Palazzo Grassi museum in Venice two years ago and erected a wall of pink dahlias, gerberas, hydrangeas and lisianthuses as the backdrop to Dries Van Noten’s spring 2007 collection. A couple of seasons later, flowers of all shapes and colors bloomed in almost every major collection.
Many of Ost’s best creations are included in the books “Leafing Through Flowers” , ” Transparent” “Invitations” . This modern-day Belgian has inverted the old masters’ logic. These arrangements seem impossible, and yet they actually did exist.
Daniel Ost is more famous in Japan than anywhere else in the world, as Ikebana, Japanese flower arranging, is a well-established art form there. “There, flowers are connected with spirituality,” he has been nicknamed “The Bridge “for his ability to blend Eastern and Western influences.
“In the West we use them in a purely decorative way, but in Japan they work with the flower’s soul to express not just beauty but ideas like death.” Still, he hasn’t been ignored by his countrymen.
Within five years of opening his shop in Sint-Niklaas in 1985, he was receiving orders from the Belgian Royal Family, in 2005 he opened his second shop in Brussels and it has received wide critical acclaim and has been highly successful.
The process of decay interests Ost. “I’ve always wanted to show flowers in their optimum moment, but now that I’m older, I also want to explore the beauty of dying,” he says. As if to balance this somber impulse, Ost occasionally designs lush landscapes. “I like gardens because they’re about growing rather than cutting.”
His wormlike rows of bushes, winding pathways and large branch configurations that sprout from ponds are as dramatic as his more intimate pieces, but Ost insists that they are merely a side interest. “I only do them in places I like and for people I like.”
His artistry is in demand by royalty, celebrities, and corporations and his installations, which last only a few days, are extremely costly, but the artistic value is absolutely priceless.
To experience the Floral World according to Daniel Ost is like stepping into another world highlighted by the finest colors, designs and floral smells.
Over the past 30 years Daniel Ost has cemented his reputation as being the maestro in creating simple elegance and is in demand on the lecture circuit throughout the world to share and show his floral vision.
As he recently told to Arnmand Limnader a reporter from the new York Times section Style, and published: June 22, 2008 “I make things very hard for myself because everything I do must be professionally perfect,” says Ost.
This man who has been known to travel 900 kilometers to collect the materials for one bouquet whose creations involve an ephemeral balance of beauty, spirituality and ingenuity, should one thinking of him as just man, an artist a genius or a sculptor ?
The Floral Designer:
Bouquets Photos Credits: Courtesy of Daniel Ost