Innovative, distinctive and incredibly talented, Florian Seyd and Ueli Signer are taking the floral design industry by storm.
While the talented pair have been breaking ground in floristry with their unprecedented ‘Shop For a Week’ concept stores, it is a fairly recent collaboration under the name The Wunderkammer. With Florian born in Germany and Ueli in Switzerland, it took years for them to cross paths and join forces, but today, with The Wunderkammer’s team aiding them in their creative projects, they are an unstoppable force.
While they share a common love and admiration for nature, they grew up in completely different settings. Florian was raised in a big city in Germany. Collecting butterflies and beetles from his balcony, he always yearned to stay close to nature despite his urban surroundings.
Ueli, on the other hand, deeply enjoyed his summers in the Alps where his passion for nature was fully exploited. When it came time for Ueli to decide on his career path, he entered into a gardening apprenticeship before eventually going on to become a florist.
He left a small Swiss village and ventured out to Italy, Germany, Denmark, France and eventually the Netherlands. While Ueli was making his way around Europe, Florian was following his own floral dreams. He worked in a flower shop after school before starting an apprenticeship with Gregor Lersch.
After establishing their individual careers, they came to work in Amsterdam around the same time, in a beautiful flower shop called Menno Kroon.
“We worked together for 5 years,” Ueli said.
“Then Florian stopped and started working for himself.”
Ueli continued working at Menno Kroon for two more years until the pair met again and their collaboration began.
“We decided to work together from there on, knowing each other very well from the time we worked together before.”
Their joint career started simply. They did not have a permanent shop and instead they begun by doing events, decorations and other floral projects.
But their talent did not go unnoticed.
“We were asked often by our customers, why we [don’t] open a shop.”
As their freelance work saw them travel all over, a shop was an undesirable attachment. But as pop-up shops gained popularity across the fashion industry, the idea took hold.
Shop For A Week was born in 2008. The concept is simple, but the execution is fairly complex. Shop for a Week is as it sounds: a temporary flower shop. Florian and Ueli rent a space, decorate according to a pre-determined theme, invite customers to experience their work and after a short week or two, close the shop.
Brainstorming, scouting locations, organising invitations and planning furniture are part of the extravaganza. The first Shop For A Week was themed ‘Magical Forest’ and the star attraction was an enormous basket bursting with roses, a marker for the location of their store.
The crowd was unanimous in their reception; everybody wanted to see more. People stopped to take pictures, the pair made new customers and were even able to cover the cost of the venture. The rest is history.
“It’s an ongoing project - we see something, feel something and then the pieces fall into place.
“We collect objects on our travels, when visiting fairs and working abroad. These items are starting points for themes, these evolve and a shop title is born.
“Now, we are 13 shops down and preparing number 14. We still like the idea.
"Beauties & Beasts", will open from the end of May to the beginning of June,” Florian said.
Their innovative Shop For A Week is just one aspect of their varied careers. Florian also conducts demonstrations, runs seminars and decorates parties and events, while Ueli teaches flower design in a number of schools, as well as leading workshops and demonstrations. However, their common passion for nature still reigns supreme.
“If I somehow can infect my audience a little bit with this addiction, I reach my goal,” Florian said.
Ueli agrees. While travelling the world in the pursuit of floral design is a joy, learning more about flower traditions, products and teaching are parts of the job that he loves best.
“Sharing my knowledge and ideas and to learn from others makes me happy,” he said.
Their lives are busy as the work continues to take them from city to city. With a modern art museum opening to decorate in Amsterdam, wedding party decorations in Italy and England and a trip to China on the horizon, there’s never a dull moment.
Despite all their success their modesty remains intact.
“It is like a dream come true, that our hobby and passion became our job,” Ueli said.
Want to see more from this dynamic duo? Keep up to date with Florian and Ueli’s Shop For A Week projects and many more by visiting their website: www.thewunderkammer.eu and www.thewunderkammerwebshop.eu
Photo credits: James Stokes, Louise de Miranda
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