From 2000 to 2013, for 14 years, every December, he was busy with the floral design for the Nobel Dinner. His floral works not only have a strong Nordic naturalism style, but also an interpretation of art and culture. He is the Swedish florist Gunnar Kaj. When I walked into his penthouse in central Stockholm, I was deeply moved by his arrangements of flowers and plants, full of life, spirituality and energy.
This apartment is a two-story loft structure. The interior architectural pattern is not regular, and it can even be said to be strange. However, after Mr. Kay’s arrangement, it looks very fresh and bright, and it is full of beauty from any angle.
Four white floor-to-ceiling walls are matched with light-colored wooden floors, and the walls are covered with various artworks. The olive green suede sofa, the dark red traditional pattern carpet and several different wooden chairs, the single sofa, and an old wooden table with traces of the years form a sofa area, next to a small fireplace and high and low Low bookshelf. It can be felt that Mr. Kay has a strong control over color, so many colorful and warm colors are mixed together, messy but not messy, rich in layers and full of charm.
Before I came to Sweden, I had a stereotype of Swedish home furnishing. I felt that the clean, transparent and indifferent black, white and gray space style on magazines and the Internet was the Nordic style. But when I walked into one Swedish family after another, I found that the “minimalist style” did not present a true and comprehensive Nordic style.
Mr. Kay’s house is full of treasures he has collected from all over the world: cupboards from 1831, portraits running on the walls, different flower arrangements on the windowsill, various candlesticks with candles, many, many honey-colored of vintage antique furniture, hand-painted botanical paintings, and more. Here, you can see a rich and interesting soul and a home that breathes and remembers. It has never been a replica of the model room, but grew out of accident and time…
To our surprise, on Mr. Kay’s old white long wooden table, it was The table setting he specially made to welcome us – the blue and white dragon pattern plate itself is old porcelain from China, and the snow-white napkin is folded into the shape of a book page. The table flag in the middle of the table caught our attention. At first glance, I thought it was a roll of golden brocade with flower patterns, but it turned out to be a bamboo slip of Sun Tzu’s Art of War! Mr. Kay said that this was a harvest from Chinese antique stalls during his travels. He also paired it with Dara’s small wooden horse from his hometown of Dalarna in central Sweden. The attentive and friendly hospitality gave us our first visit. There is a warm and friendly feeling when we meet.
But what aroused everyone’s curiosity the most were those slender glass test tubes with red lilies inserted in them–so thin, how could they stand firm?
The master has to come out to reveal the secret. It turned out that a small magnet was attached to the bottom of these glass vases, and a long thin iron plate was placed under the tablecloth, so the small vases were firmly attracted. Everyone suddenly realized that they asked where they could buy it. “It can’t be bought.” Mr. Kay replied arrogantly, “This is a patented product I specially designed for the Nobel dinner, and I kept some after the dinner.”
So the topic naturally returned to the Nobel dinner. The Nobel dinner table in 2012 was designed with countless such “test tube” flower utensils. Purple, pink and white anemones are inserted in the flower vessel, and when viewed from a distance, they are swaying in the wind like flowers that grow naturally in the field, which is simple and impressive.
Another design that made Mr. Kay quite complacent was the flower installation art performance in 2005 that still seems to be outstanding.
At the dinner that year, the flowers were not traditionally placed before the guests entered. When the guests were seated, they felt strange that there was not a single flower on the empty white long table. Could it be because of a tight budget? The moment of surprise was that before the hot dishes came to the table, a group of choir actors and actresses filled with flowers and entered the venue accompanied by music. Lilies, roses, dianthus, freesias… flowers are held in their hands, worn on the top of the bachelor’s hat, placed on bow ties and other parts, like a group of flower elves. In a blink of an eye, the flowers found their place, the singers left the venue gracefully, the dinner table changed in a different way, and the guests closed their shocked mouths in admiration of this blue hall filled with life by flowers.
In addition to the Nobel dinner, Mr Kay has had a very active career as a florist. Various themed exhibitions, flower classes and workshops have brought him all over the world. In the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, he was in charge of the Midsummer Flower Arrangement and Display of the Swedish National Pavilion. In December 2017, at the invitation of the Zhiai team, he held a master workshop class for the first time in China, and prepared two days of wonderful flower art courses for Chinese students.
In the master workshop of Love Love, Mr. Kay said emotionally: “The shortness, fragility, madness, decay, bloom and wildness of real life are incomprehensible to those fake flowers and plastic flowers.”
He is fascinated by the dynamics of the rhythms and cycles of plant life. In his 2015 book, A Room with Flowers, Mr. Kay talked about the meaning of life contained in flowers and plants. “A room with plants, even if it’s empty, is still alive.” . It also reminds me again of his home, another stunning corner of his apartment in Stockholm –
under the skylight of a gabled roof in the apartment, Mr. Kay has plastered the white walls with green leaves and birds Patterned wallpaper, in a narrow space, half a small round table, two rattan chairs from Swedish home furnishing brand Svenskt Tenn, surrounded by green potted plants, creating a wonderful corner of the garden . This also reminds me of the soul of Ruizhixi, the “accidentalism” created by the design master Joseph Frank. His core idea is: the furnishings of the furniture do not have to be rigid, nor the pursuit of perfection. The beauty of “accidental” that comes at your fingertips is often particularly touching. Just like the beauty of the two rattan chairs in front of me encountering half a coffee table, between plants, furniture, space and decoration, inadvertently and not deliberately, there is spirituality and vigorous energy like life.
(Editor-in-charge: Li Yuejing)
sweden happiness keywords
If there is a routine for Nordic home decoration, it must be “white wall + painting + log color + green plants”. Yes, this kind of simple decoration and serious decoration is one of the Nordic styles, and the decorative effect of green plants in it and the adjustment of people’s mood is also extraordinary.
In Swedish homes, houseplants can be found everywhere. Whether small potted flower plants or giant plants, or bottled flower arrangements and hydroponic plants, they are all beautifully designed and placed. Whether it is a flower pot or a shape, it seems to be random, but it has been carefully designed.
A touch of delicate green is both a vivid work of art and a breath of fresh air as if returning to nature. Even the melancholy mood will be appropriately relieved by seeing the vigorous plants.