Christian Ravnbak, the 24-year-old flower designer, finds his creative vent in the solace of blending natural, uncultivated blooms. For the last six years, he’s found joy in simplicity that looks deep into the eye of detail to create arrangements for Aesop, The Apartment, and some of Copenhagen’s most treasured eateries.
To celebrate his mesmerizing new installation for Marimekko Kreative, we spoke to him about the potent power of wildflowers, how to craft a charming bouquet, and his favourite nature haunts in the city he calls a warm hug.
How did you get into flowers?
I worked at a farm in the north of Copenhagen with a cook called Camilla. She has an amazing organic farm, a perennial garden and a vegetable garden, and I was mainly cooking the vegetables from the garden. Then at some point, we had to come up with some flowers for an event, so I went to pick flowers in the garden, and it kind of just started from there. I took over all the events and after one or two years of doing flowers at her place, I had built up my Instagram and decided that I could do it on my own.
Where do you tend to get your inspiration from?
I mean, it can be anything. I have some people that I follow on Instagram, but I can also get inspired by a vibe from a space or a beautiful wall. I love going to cultivated gardens, like baroque gardens. And it doesn't have to do with flowers at all. If you walk into a big castle, and there's a beautiful old garden, you have bushes that are cut in circles and different forms. I think I'm very simple, I really like to work with one flower for an arrangement. It's me creating the object that makes the difference. I've done it with the installation here [at Kreative] as well, I've only worked with one flower and created something from that.
The theme for this Marimekko Kreative installation is wildflowers. What do they mean to you?
I mean, I love the idea of wildflowers. If I could only work with things that I find in nature, I would be so happy. That's not how the world is working, sadly, but I'm not that attracted to things that I wouldn’t be able to find on my own. So flowers found in nature, that have the kind of “I just went and picked them vibe” are very dear to my heart. I think they’re easy to work with because they bring so much. They’re not cultivated. I like the fact that they're wild from the start.
Wildflowers possess this unyielding power that can burst through the smallest cracks in the toughest circumstances. They’re like the stubborn heroines of the botanical world.
That's kind of the beauty in what many people would call weeds. They just appear. The process of them seeding and then growing is a natural one, because it might have been a bird that aided them, and somehow the little seed ended up there and just popped up from the ground. When I hear “stubborn heroines” – it may sound corny – but when I look back on some of the people that I know who were wearing Marimekko, it's like this. A woman who knows where she stands. A person who has both feet on the ground. And I think that it's kind of the same. Wildflowers just bursting up through the concrete is like, I'm here, and I'm here because I want to be here.
Do you have a favorite wildflower?
I do. It's not the most common wildflower, but it's a flower you would find walking in the forest, in most Nordic countries, at least. My favorite wildflower is lily of the valley, which is just a cute flower. It has so much history and tradition. In France you would give them to someone you hold dear to your heart for the first of May.
Why do you think that flowers bring us so much joy and happiness?
I think they're beautiful. The connotation of the flower is for the better or to make something nice, cozy. They’re so unnecessary, yet necessary because we need something beautiful to look at. And I think flowers are an easy way to get this surplus in our interior or a way of saying, thank you for being there or thank you for being you. Showing love, showing affection, it's just a good thing.
What should we keep in mind when arranging flowers?
If you want to do something really nice and very easy, go for one flower but go with a big amount. There's something very indulgent about having the same flower in huge amounts.
Your three favourite pockets of nature in Copenhagen?
The Perennial Garden in the King’s Garden – there are lots of flowers, and you really get to see the work that has been put into that garden.
Tivoli – it’s an amusement park, but it has so many little gems, like a little lamb lighting up a little tree. It's so extra, and I love that.
Kastellet – It’s by the water and has a perennial garden. The view from there is just amazing.