In 1995 Saskia Havekes opened Grandiflora, a small atelier for fresh flowers in Sydney’s Potts Point. Her sculptural, dramatic and openly romantic vision immediately influenced interior styling, hospitality, fashion, editorial and truly revived the etiquette of giving, and living, with flowers. Widely imitated, Grandiflora spearheaded a new aesthetic of scale and unpredictable botanical contrasts.
Over time, Havekes grew her little flower shop at the end of Macleay street to more ambitious heights. Researching and developing six intricate fragrances, sharing her story-telling through four vivid books and constructing the complex design of stand-alone events, she pushed the creative potential of floristry to the hilt. Some might say her work is like a mission, built on the desire to bring the world into a deeper understanding of plants and flowers on every level and with all of the senses. To walk into Grandiflora is to experience 360 degrees of sensuality. An immersion in the process of nature becoming art.
Approaching three decades, Grandiflora is both a respected international name and a very real hive of heady activity. The demand for Saskia’s singular sensibility continues to build. Coveted by movie stars and touring celebrities Grandiflora made flowers for Lady Diana, Kylie Minogue, Sting, Bjork, Julia Roberts and Cate Blanchett. Starring roles in mission impossible, Moulin Rouge and the epic shows of Collette Dinnigan, Zimmerman and Romance was Born were highlights. Dior, Hermes, Chanel, Dries van Noten, Burberry and Bulgari relied on Grandiflora for cutting edge style.
Havekes deflects the glamour of her clients with the grit of busy hands taming thorny stems. Standing knee deep in petals, buckets, and towering branches she compares her work to that of a painter, a couturier and a chef. Her ingredients are raw, perishable and so fragile. In response she has found intrepid paths to extending the precious life of the flower: in writing and archival art works, in her artisanal parfum and above all in living memory.
“My work is emotional and observant. I create yet I am also sensitive to what is appropriate, that is the real training in floristry. The language of flowers meets the complexity of society. I might be known for grand public gestures but our service is based in very private wishes. The energy of my work is propelled by change and the astonishing power of my materials. Grandiflora pivots on grace under pressure, I never really know where the architecture of a bunch will arrive and that is the momentum that propels creation.”