Ikebana is the traditional Japanese art of flower arrangement, but tradition is set aside in favor of revolution in Azuma Makoto’s works. His haute couture flower shop JARDINS des FLEURS in Moto-Azabu, Tokyo takes a novel approach by introducing a narrative quality to each arrangement and treating the flowers with deliberate purpose as the main characters in the floral play. Botanical Sculpture #5 GOD is a perfect illustration of the harmonious synergy between modernity, concept, and institution. The silver tubes extending from the faces of the glass box represent a dystopian life-force feeding the tangle of roots and bulbs. What could easily be lost as a chaotic mess is saved with the simple loveliness of a rising leaf of green, silently supported and encouraged by other smaller stalks of life. The notion of ikebana being an arrangement of living flora is given new meaning with Makoto’s vision. Other works include a series of bonsai, roots exposed and suspended in sterile, quiet air, while another features a lush floor of moss carpeting the interior of an installation space. Makoto’s designs are unobtrusiveness in nature, but respectfully push the envelope of conventional representation and use of flora.

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ABOUT KIMBERLY LI - Kimberly is a graduate from MIT's Department of Architecture, and has recently joined the publication team at MIT OpenCourseWare. While architecture remains her first love, her interests encompass literature – epic poetry and Medieval romances are her favorite – and also fashion.