Thursday, September 15, 2005

New Book: The Flower Shop

"The concept is crucial, yet impossible to pin down. It is a flower shop, but it also works without flowers. The customers are important, but not absolutely necessary. The work is beautiful, but can be very hard to do." — Alexandra, staffer at Blumenkraft
The Flower Shop: Charm, Grace, Beauty, Tenderness in a Commercial Context

Leonard Koren's book Wabi-Sabi has become the key guide to appreciating the beauty of things imperfect, incomplete, and impermanent. His book Arranging Things explores the messages behind the placement of objects for both commercial and non-commercial purposes. Koren's latest, The Flower Shop, extends his reach into retail environments, teaching by example that commerce can successfully be mixed with love and a devotion to beauty and customer service.

Meet the owner, designer, staff and clientele of Blumenkraft, a flower shop located in the low-key but hip 4th District in Vienna. Blumenkraft uses unique glass containers ("blumariums") for vases and strips all flower stems of the leaves, leaving only the blooms. The staff create surrealistic arrangements, and customers look as if they are witnessing a miracle: the miracle of the creation of beauty. Children play inside the wiggling worktables and the music is as dynamic as the window displays.

Blumenkraft (literally, "Flower Power" but not in the clich├ęd 1960s sense) is a place of inspiration, refuge, and virtue that will inform and enlighten anyone interested in design, modern business, and flowers at the intersection of beauty and commerce. Mixing analysis, anecdote, and observation, Koren once again reveals the key principles of practical wisdom at work in the world. His own photographs illustrate the clear and concise text of The Flower Shop.

Leonard Koren was trained as an artist and architect and writes books about design and aesthetics. In the mid-seventies he founded and published the influential avant-garde WET, The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing. His recent books include Undesigning the Bath, Gardens of Gravel and Sand and 13 Books.

The Flower Shop: Charm, Grace, Beauty, Tenderness in a Commercial Context is 112 pp, 5.5 x 8.5" paperback, with 100 duotone photos. September 2005, $19.95, ISBN 1-933330-00-7

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