Christmas decorations showcasing “The Nutcracker” at the Floral Park by the Paris School of Florists

By Elodie, Luna, and Mélissa, BP21

This year, our BP21 class along with our floral arrangement teacher Ms Ghislaine Caze chose to produce the “Nutcracker” theme for the Christmas decorations at the Floral Park of Vincennes. Every year, the exhibition is held in Pavilion 18, the largest space in the park, measuring 400m ². Our “Nutcracker” proposal was accepted by the school and ultimately by the management of the Floral Park.

The event takes place for 6 weeks during the Christmas period. Our class started on the construction of the reproduction on Monday, November 5th and the work will take a period of 4 weeks, combining the talents of our apprentices from different classes on different days.

As for our class, we firstly wanted to represent the ballet in 5 parts, which gave us 5 working groups:

1) The Waltz of the Flowers
2) The Dance of the Mice
3) Christmas
4) The Sugar Plum Fairies
5) The Frozen Winter

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Each ballet will be composed of 10 dancers with each group of dancers having a different dance position.

Step One: Construction of the structure for the dancers

The first two days, allowed us to create a prototype, which will serve as an example for the ensuing classes.
The Floral Park provided us with 50 logs of wood of 40 cm in diameter and 50 cm in height.
We fixed cleats in the center of the logs with brackets and screws in order to hold up a leg and the bust of the dancer.
We decided to position the tutus at 1 meter 35 from the top of the log, which thus becomes the length of their legs. Depending on the position defined by each group, we made cuts in other cleats to hold up the second leg of the dancer. We then attached them to the first leg by using screws.
We tied 7 wires together with sotibat tape, and then we gave them the shape we wanted according to the group of dancers.
We then set the arms on the dancers with sotibat, and to give volume, we surrounded the whole body of the dancers with cellophane. The tutus were built with wire mesh and wire, and then attached to the bodies.
We covered the legs, body, and arms of the dancers with flat wool, which gave solidity.
Head construction
We inflated balloons and then wrapped them in string. In order for the string to harden and consolidate when the balloon is deflated, we dipped them in hot water and a starchy glue. Once dried after a two-week period, we will be able to place them onto the dancers’ bodies.
Here is a look at what our reproductions look like to date:

“Carré des Métiers” at Nanterre by Marine, Agathe and Annatalia

 

On Wednesday, 7th November we went to the Chambre des Métiers et de l’Artisanat (CMA) in Nanterre to represent the Paris School of Florists with Mrs Joch, one of the school’s floral arrangement teachers and Mrs Rudelle, who is in charge of school development. The “Carré des métiers” was organized for schools in Nanterre, students from other areas, and adults who are making career changes.

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We arrived at 9am to prepare our table with flowers bought by Mrs Joch, which included two types of  roses, eucalyptus, hypericums, hydrangeas, carnations, curly willow branches, and kalenchoes. The event began at 10 am with the first group of students.

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We demonstrated our skills with floral presentations like bouquets, floral jewelry, compositions, and structures.

During the demonstration, we talked about our work and the different training we receive at the Paris School of Florists. The students asked us a lot of different questions about our daily routines in the shops and about the caring of flowers. They were especially interested in our tools.

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At 12:30pm, after all the groups were gone, the CMA invited us to lunch together. We had exchanges with the other apprentices who were learning to be hairdressers, beauticians or bridal gown designers. We gave little roses to the hairdressers for their presentation and they styled our hair in gratitude.

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The afternoon was very calm, being that the high school students had left and only the adults in career changes were left.
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Top left picture: Apprentices Agathe, Annatalia and Marine

Second left picture: Tha apprentices with Mrs Jock (in the middle) and Mrs Rudelle (second right)

A wedding reception at the Hotel Raphael by Jeanne Brandi, BP21

The first of September

A month ago, a young Americain couple asked if me I could make a floral arrangement for their wedding reception, so I rang the bride-to-be to talk about the request. She told me that she wanted a long table runner only with white flowers and that it had to be something that was in her own words “fluffy”.

And as none of my workmates speak English, I was on my own to handle this order.

The wedding took place in the beautiful marble floored and wooden walled Hotel Raphael, which is located near the Penninsula Hotel, north of the Eiffel Tower.

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The wedding dinner was on the last floor in a very long and narrow room with beautiful stained glass windows and an old library. This room looked like an old office for a writer. To top it off,  there was a huge balcony set up with armchairs, in which one could relax and get a breathtaking view of the Eiffel Tower.

For the wedding reception, we made a table runner, which consisted only of white hydrangeas. On each end of the table, the hydrangeas fell like waterfalls.

To make this runner, we had to use hydrophilic foam because hydrangeas need a lot of water and they won’t live a day without it.

It took 3 florists to make this arrangement for a period of  2 hours.

The day after the wedding I was back in the shop and felt very stressed because I didn’t get any news from the newlyweds, but in the afternoon, they came to the shop, full of joy, to tell me that the runner was better than they had dreamt! That made my day!

 

Working for Varda at the Hôtel de Crillon by Léna Popineau, BP21

 

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L’Hôtel De Crillon is one of the oldest and most luxurious hotels in Paris and in the world. It is located near the Champs Elysées at the Place de la Concorde. It opened in 1909 in a building built in 1758. With 124 guest rooms and 46 suites, ranging in price from around €1,000 to €35,000 per night, the hotel also features three restaurants, a bar, outdoor terrace, gym and health club on the premises. The hotel was extensively renovated from 2013 to 2017 and when it reopened, the collaboration with Floral Designer Djordje Varda began.

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In September 2018, the Crillon was officially designated by Atout France as a Palace ranking hotel

The entire hotel is decorated by our team, and the biggest decor we have to make is the one in the lobby, which is changed twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays.  We have to get up very early to have it ready before the guests wake up, so that means having to start work at 4:30 am.

This is the Jardin d’Hiver, where we usually do the biggest floral arrangements.

We also put different matching bouquets all around the lobby.

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This is a fireplace located near the lobby, which we also decorate to match the main arrangement.

Apart from decorating the public areas of the hotel, we also have to make bouquets to place in the rooms and suites at every check-in. The hotel workers call us each day to order a number of bouquets, which can be of 4 sizes: a small one, composed of 5 roses, a medium one composed of ten roses, a big one composed of twenty roses, and lastly the biggest one that changes according to which suite it is for. We are also in charge of the small plants that are placed in the bathrooms.

In addition, there a lot of events taking place in the hotel: weddings, cocktails, meetings, launches of new products, and so on. We are usually in charge of decorating the venues with magnificent flowers.



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A wedding dinner

 

Our team is composed of three employees, three apprentices, and Floral Designer Djordje Varda, who is pictured below in absolute elegance.

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Fleuramour 2018 “Urban Roots” – Alden Biesen by Marie, Maud, and Lu Anna

During the third week of September, the BP22 class took part in Fleuramour, a floral event which takes place annually at the amazing Alden Biesen Castle in Belgium. It’s the most significant flower festival in Europe, where one can see many international floral designers and their works of art.

FIRST DAY: Tuesday, September 18th

Hard wake up: Tuesday morning the departure was at 6 AM in front of the Paris School of Florists.

After 6 hours of traveling by coach, we finally arrived at the castle, where Martine Soulier, our arrangement teacher, was already waiting for us.

We took a quick break for lunch before getting down to work until 6 PM, and as Martine had already explained the project to us, it was easier for us to realize the structure.

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We stayed in a motel next to the highway near Liège. Every dinner was booked by the school in a restaurant in the area.

SECOND DAY: Wednesday, September 19th

The departure was at 8AM for a long day of work. During the 30-minute ride to go to the castle from the motel, everybody was very excited about our assignment.

We were one of the first groups to show up for duty, thus finding ourselves in a nearly empty the castle.

We lacked some foliage, so we had to look in the fields nearby to find some hawthorn to give some color and volume to our structure.

We finished building the polygonum structure and began to decorate it with beehives and hundreds of handmade yellow pompoms, which we used to represent bees.

It was a difficult day but chocolates and music give us the needed energy.

At the end of the day, we were so happy to have a rest for a few minutes at the motel before having dinner.

THIRD DAY: Thursday, September 20th

More and more designers were arriving on Thursday to get their work done before the doors opened the following day. The place was getting more and more lively and the mood more and more spirited.

It came time to flower our structure and we choose to do it to some dynamic music, which made everybody start dancing and smiling while completing this final step.

The result was even better than what we had expected. It was huge and so colorful… as you can see below:

Tremendous work, tremendous pleasure, tremendous compensation: our last dinner was booked in a highly reputable restaurant near the castle, where we could celebrate the 21st birthday of Louise with some fanfare and some cake just for her.

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LAST DAY: Friday, September 21st

We decided to wake up earlier so that we could privately visit the castle and see the designers’ works before the visitors swarmed in at 10AM.

It was very interesting to see various floral techniques and atmospheres from around the world and compare them to our finished production.

Marie spoke a lot in English with everybody and informed the entire class about the different designers’ experience. Meanwhile, others were busy eating some Belgian waffles.

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Agathe showed off her beautiful flower hat.

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Finally, it was time to go home. Everybody slept in the coach during the entire trip home.

It was short but intense.

A big thanks to our teachers, Martine Soulier and Christelle Meslin.

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Zuidkoop by Clea and Agathe, BP22

 

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In the afternoon of June 26th, we visited Zuidkoop, the biggest workshop of floral events in the Netherlands.

We discovered that this workshop had a lot of supplies and financial means, allowing it to create everything imaginable right on their premises.

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The diversity of Zuidkoop’s materials is remarkable. It is equipped with all sorts of objects like bikes, fridges, vases,  tires, wood, and so on and so on.

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There are also a lot of costly machines and tools, like the best dishwasher on the market at the price tag of €10,000, an automatic paint-spray room,  a big saw, and more.

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Zuidkoop specializes in catering for exceptional events, performing maintenance, and selling hydroponic plants and trees to corporate clients. As for individuals, it sells bouquets and compositions for weddings, funerals, celebrations, etc., at a cost that we found relatively inexpensive.

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The floral workshop is made up of 45 employees, who according to the manager «are like one big family». Among their outstanding works are the catering of the Royal wedding of Belgium and the King’s coronation.

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Zuidkoop is a big warehouse measuring 5,000m₂ with green energy and vision, having just installed a number of solar panels.

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Maurithuis Museum, Netherlands – by Sophie and Louise, BP22

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As part of our training, we went to Holland in June accompanied by our arrangement and applied arts teachers.

During one afternoon, we visited the Maurithuis Museum, which means “Maurice’s house in Dutch”, located in The Hague, in the Netherlands.

Mainly called the Royal Cabinet of Paintings, the Maurithuis Museum is devoted to the art of the 17th century, dating from 1640. It was built by the architects Jacob van Campen and Pieter Post, and it was originally the residence of Count Jean-Maurice of Nassau-Siegen.

It became an art museum in 1822, after King William I bequeathed his art collection to the state. It is listed in the ranking of the 100 most beautiful historic buildings in the country.

 

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Composed of small rooms and large spaces, it contains among other treasures, Dutch Golden Age paintings by Johannes Vermeer and Rembrandt Van Rijn.

After more than two years of closure, the renovated and enlarged museum reopened its doors on June 27, 2014.

Some of the finest masterpieces:

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