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With his natural creative flair and talent for artistic design, it’s hard to imagine Per Benjamin in any other career, and that’s exactly how he feels.
Busy as ever, the Swedish-born floral designer wrapped up his latest project – “Love Passion and Fashion”. The floral runway extravaganza was presented for florists in Sweden and Denmark across four cities, on four consecutive nights. An ambitious endeavour indeed, this artistic project was a joint collaboration with talented Danish floral designer Annette von Einem and the results were spectacular.
The event was awash with beautiful blooms. Luscious roses in pastel creams, salmon and powder pink filled the room, while rich shades of red, burgundy and fuchsia carnations hid beneath audience chairs. Cacti, succulents, chrysanthemums and Kalanchoes in vibrant yellows, oranges, lime, white and grey turned venues into floral masterpieces.
Six different themes, expressed in creative floral designs, made their way down the catwalk.
A total of 54 designs in all shapes, sizes and degrees of complexity were created from scratch. 12 -14 tense hours of prep each day brought the event to life at night but in reality, the entire venture was one and a half years in the making. An enormous amount of work came together to produce an unforgettable experience. But that’s just how it goes when creative minds like Per are able to let their imagination roam free.
Gazing upon the incredible creations that have come out of this captivating event, it’s hard to imagine this talented floral designer doing anything else. Thankfully, his mind was set on flowers a long time ago.
As a child he’d had an interest in gardening but it was through his schooling that he discovered his passion for floristry. As part of the school curriculum, Per tried out a few different workplaces. He first worked at an office, then at McDonalds until finally, he was sent to work at a flower shop.
“I just felt at home. I got to work in this shop for holidays and weekends,” he said.
It was the beginning of a career that would come to take him all over the globe, eventually making him a well-known name in the world of floristry. Per developed a growing interest in floristry over those early years. He took a full time job after high school where he studied natural science, and eventually completed a Craftsmanship diploma with a silver medal in 1994. He worked in several shops and began competing in industry competitions. Then, in 2002, he competed in the Fleurop-Interflora World Cup and everything changed. He took home the title.
“Remembering that still gives me goosebumps and a warm feeling inside,” he said. Winning the Interflora World Cup in 2002 opened the doors to the world. Since then I have had the pleasure of working in almost 80 countries and making lots of new friends."
“I always say I am one of the most fortunate floral designers in the world being able to combine what I like the most in life; flower design, travelling and meeting new people and cultures,” he said.
While winning the Fleurop-Interflora World Cup created new and exciting opportunities for the Stockholm-based designer, competing as a whole benefitted him enormously.
“Competing puts everything to the test. Your creativity, stress-handling, handcraft and adaptability. Competing has made me into the problem solver I am. Problems I see as possibilities and a positive challenge. That is useful in all aspects of life,” he said.
With experience and accolades to his name, Per’s career expanded rapidly. Today, his varied career includes owning his own consulting business, “Benjamin’s Botaniska” (Benjamin’s Botanicals), as well as co-owning Life3, together with Max and Tomas. But that’s not the half of it. He runs demonstrations, workshops, seminars, school teaching, leadership courses, shop coaching, he completes shop make-overs, large events and party decorations as well as spending the occasional day in a flower shop. Despite the various job titles, there is one overarching ideology evident across all branches of his career and it’s the facet he loves most of all.
“The aspect of changing the minds of people. Helping them along their creative path both as designers and as shop owners. My drive is to challenge people to think and develop their own creative personality or to see them master and enjoy economy and leadership,” he said.
“To see people grow and know that I was a little part of that change.”
His teachings and demonstrations aim to inspire and that’s exactly what they do. He came to Australia in October 2015 as part of an Interflora Australia Convention to do just that.
“I have presented before at the Convention and done several demos and workshops all around Australia, so I am looking forward to meet friends and colleagues.
“It’s always a joy to work and visit Australia,” he said.
The presentation itself shared some of the lessons Per has learned from working on a project with designer and commercial florists in Sweden.
“It is all about how to extract commercially viable ideas out of designer floristry. The main idea for the demo would then be to do some designer floristry work and then extract techniques and design elements for use in commercial floristry.
There's never any downtime for the talented designer, with events and activities lined up at any given moment. Although his work sees him constantly moving from place to place, it’s the perfect atmosphere for his creative mind.
“My driving force as a person and as a florist is my curiosity. My curiosity towards life, people, emotions and, of course, flowers. For me the challenge is not to find the most beautiful and rare flowers, but to find new ways to use the ordinary ones and show their beauty. A beauty that passes so many people by if not presented in a special way.”
Challenging visual prejudices and refusing to set limits on his creative reign, Per allows inspiration to spur his unique designs forward.
“I won’t see old traditions as obstacles; on the contrary, I see them as possibilities and inspiration to new ideas.
“The classic saying, ‘To take the road less travelled...’ It makes perfect sense to me.” he said.
Want to see more from Per? Keep up to date his movements and activities here!