Each month, we meet a Hong Kong-based creative and invite them to share their space as we discuss everything from their inspirations and creative process to all things floral.
This month we caught up with Floristry at M&L’s creative director Jess Piatigorsky at her stylish Sheung Wan studio. With the aim of bringing the wild and natural to Hong Kong floristry, Jess co-founded Floristry at M&L in 2017. Taking inspiration from her art direction and design background, love of the wilderness and childhood memories of wandering the rugged welsh countryside; Floristry at M&L is deep rooted in contemporary floral design that draws from literature, mythology and all things natural. Flowers hold very personal memories and sentimental values to us all, Jess shares those floral thoughts most closest to her heart as she shows us around her home.
What do you love most about flowers?
The sense of nature and the wild that they instantly evoke.
Tell us about your most powerful flower memory
The abundance of gorse bushes scattered throughout my childhood memories. They grew everywhere in the countryside I grew up in and the smell of them takes me back to walks with my dad and playing in fields as a child.
How would you describe your interior style?
Muted, a mix of old and new with a boho twist.
What effect does your surrounding interiors have on your mood or feelings?
Personally a massive effect as I find a lot of inspiration in composition and colour, both of which are key parts of interior design and how a space feels. Put me in a well designed or interesting room and I’ll be entertained for hours!
How does your flower choice reflect your personal and interior style?
There’s always a bit of dirty pink in there!
What’s your favourite object in your home?
All my old photographs
Who are your biggest design and style inspirations?
Artists would be Mondrian, Rothko and Cezanne, I also love Tracey Emin and Egon Schiele for their nudes. I watch a lot of film and am constantly inspired by Terrence Malick and Andrea Arnold. I also have a big wooden box filled with printed ephemera I’ve collected on my travels which I always dig out when in need of some design inspiration.
Art and film are a way of communicating and conveying emotions, how can floral design do the same?
I think if you break it down there are similar parallels - form, colour, texture, all of which infer a mood. All of our designs at Floristry at M&L are wild and natural at their essence so the emotion can be quite similar - to evoke a feeling of nature, wilderness and the grace in things not directly part of us.
What do you hope that your flowers say to others?
Simply that they lift and inspire.
Which flowers do you love to give and why?
Preferably wild, hand-picked ones.
What is your go-to scent or fragrance?
I’ve always been drawn to Jasmine and florals but recently I love more woody scents like sandalwood. I’m currently obsessing over Le Labo Thé Noir which I’ve figured out smells like bourbon, another favourite smell of mine haha.
Tell us about a significant scent in your life and what memories it evokes
Ah there’s loads! Frankincense which reminds me of Russian Orthodox churches as a child, Rosemary which takes me back to spending summers working in Tuscany in my early twenties and Lime which reminds me of all the Vodkas during my first year in London!
How do you approach floral design - what is your creative process?
I usually start with an idea on colour palette which is normally inspired by fashion shoots, paintings or interiors. Then I start to explore the message, tone or feeling I want to get across, everything from poetry and myth to nature and music influence this part. Finally I approach the balance of texture and form with different flower options until I’m happy with a final design.
Does this differ to when you’re working on design or film projects?
Surprisingly not much. Colour has always been a trigger of inspiration for me no matter what creative project I’m working on. And similarly fashion and interiors have always played one of the biggest roles in my creative process. Throughout college and for work my research would always begin with trawling through past issues of Vogue and interiors magazines whether I was working on a design or video brief. The elements of colour, mood and composition span all creative output I think.
What poem or quote would sum you up?
I’m not sure it sums me up but one of my favourites is First Sight by Philip Larkin, which I first heard in my bedroom as a teenager when my sister read it aloud to me from her school book and it’s always stuck in my mind since.
Lambs that learn to walk in snow
When their bleating clouds the air
Meet a vast unwelcome, know
Nothing but a sunless glare.
Newly stumbling to and fro
All they find, outside the fold,
Is a wretched width of cold.
As they wait beside the ewe,
Her fleeces wetly caked, there lies
Hidden round them, waiting too,
Earth's immeasurable surprise.
They could not grasp it if they knew,
What so soon will wake and grow
Utterly unlike the snow.
GET THE LOOK
Bring the wilderness to you home with natural blooms and woody scents
Magic Hour Bouquet
Archangel Soy Wax Candle
All Saints Flower Jar