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Friday, August 22, 2008

floral illusion

west elm chair reimagined by robba for a charity auction, 2007

emilio robba, sculptor of flowers

"I always knew that nature would be the guide in my life..." 

Born into a family of Italian artists residing in Paris, Emilio Robba knew from a very young age that his artistic roots would guide his life. He began with painting and studied form and color at the prestigious Beaux-Arts school. His fascination with nature led him instinctively towards the art of floral design, where he rapidly pushed the frontiers...

In 1980 Pierre Cardin asked Robba to create a retail store specializing in fine and unusual flowers. Robba quickly developed his own aesthetic, creating the first "flowers of illusion" collection. The result was an outstanding collection of synthetic flowers that
 offer unprecedented beauty with absolutely no management... perfect for any person who loves beautiful arrangements, but was born without a green thumb.

I was blown away by the flagship store in Paris, located in the charming (and fashionable) Saint Germain des Pres. The two-story boutique was cluttered with unusual and artistic arrangements -- ranging in size from shot-glass sized vases holding a single orchid stem to enormous metallic pots containing exotic cacti, succulents, and palms -- resting atop sleek acrylic tables and carefully lit against metallic pewter walls. The boutique exudes luxurious ambiance and feels more like a museum of flowering plants than a 
retail outlet, a reflection of Robba's joie de vivre.  

inside the beautiful Paris boutique
shades of grey

I found several must-haves to bring back to the states (without breaking the bank)... a sculptured glass vase encasing a vine of thistled wild roses acts as a modern candelabra, holding four votive tea-lights adds effortless elegance to any table and looks dashing when lit... glass tea light candles filled with Robba's signature illusion florals make a lovely gift or a savvy paperweight... and a beautiful arrangement of pink phalaenopsis orchids alongside a succulent tree is a wonderful investment for anyone who likes to be continually surrounded by nature's beauty (and these squared-off jet black vases are the oh so in-the-moment in Paris)... So go ahead and indulge yourself with an artful arrangement:

Emilio Robba Paris (St. Germain des Pres)
63 Rue du Bac, 75007 Paris

Emilio Robba Miami
358 San Lorenzo Avenue
Coral Gables, Florida 33146

Emilio Robba Palm Beach
333 South County Road
Palm Beach, Florida 33480

sculptured vase with roses (around €60) 
shades of grey

medium glass t-light with white poppy ($45)
shades of grey

phalaenopsis orchid and succulent tree in black glass vase, $95

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