Tell us about yourself.
Science and the Arts are my background. I have always loved their supposed contradictions, which just isn’t true as one feeds the other in my world. My main profession is designing major motion movies. Some 40 of these I have completed, many of them to great acclaim which I’m very proud of. There have been many operas and modern dance commissions too. But parallel to this I have designed installations with great artists and created some of the first ‘public holograms‘. All of these disciplines tie in with my largest self-commission which is ROCKFLOWER.
How long have you been working on Rockflower?
The first concept and model of the the Rockflower retail and vending unit was in 1993. As a designer I wanted the communities of the world to have 24/7 access to flowers. I was living in USA at the time where it was a problem to buy fresh flowers for the home everyday. This was in the days before the farmers markets on the East and West Coasts changed this availability with a great array of flowers and plants. But still that 24/7 bouquet of fresh flowers remained a problem. So as a designer of movies where you have to be skilled at designing anything that the script might require meant that I was in a good position to set to it and design my way out of this ongoing problem. But my dream was too early and I had to wait till for the evolution of the computer programming that then allowed in 2003 for the final push. Thus arose ROCKFLOWER! The name signals the finding of a delicate flower in a hard to imagine space. In our case, that is London tube station forecourts.
Describe a typical day in your (Rockflower) life.
I like to start early to be in tune with the flower auctions in the Netherlands where we source and make all of our bouquets.
I design a new collection each month, but as the flower season can be quite short for some flowers it means tweaking the flower contents twice a week, so that ROCKFLOWER always has the freshest and most unique blooms.
By late morning, around 11am coffee break time, I move my concentration onto the ongoing redesign of the new units. Some of this is working in CAD and changing aspects of the engineering as I get reports back from the various manufacturesr who are constructing the new vending only units which will go into additional TfL stations soon. If it’s a Monday, Wednesday or a Friday, I meet Janet, our wonderful administrator and we go over outstanding matters to do with labour/ finance etc and answer the many requests we have each week from people all over the world wanting to know more about ROCKFLOWER. We get a lot of these and it is exciting to see the interest in our project. Outside of work, I love painting daily along with daily yoga, and cycling.
How do you relax at weekends?
It’s a 2 hour Iyengar Yoga class on Saturday morning often followed by a meeting for late breakfast and coffee.
I have a large garden that requires upkeep, so there goes 4 hours on Saturday afternoon (!) before we head out to a movie or hopefully one of our mates is having a party. My wife and I are very social, somewhat too social maybe… but like a flower you must stay pert and colourful to respect the full beauty of the day!
What is the best thing about Rockflower?
ROCKFLOWER has a huge energy. We are able to monitor the contents/ freshness of the flowers etc live online, thus it requires a constant updating of the system which creates a huge surge of moving-up to the next level of excellence.
There are so many new spaces we will be found in..shopping centres/ airports/ hospitals etc but each one will need special attention so that the flower bouquets reflect that new customers’ needs. It’s exciting.
What is your favourite flower/bouquet?
I simply don’t have ONE…..I fall in love each time I design a new bouquet. The challenge is to place together the blooms relating to the season you are entering and as such, there is so much to think about, such as colour or form or whether it is special celebration that month and so on. Peonies and wild roses mixed are a favourite…..so is the night-perfumed tuberose that has such a short season, but always smells SO exotic and sexy.
Why are flowers so special to you?
Our forefathers and mothers simply couldn’t exist without flowers because they hold all the secrets to do with fertilisation, soil retention, insect repellants etc. Then there is all the healing properties used in salves for everything from bites to broken limbs! The list goes on forever. In our rushing-about world, we tend to forget all of this, so when there are flowers around you, just know there is healing going on somewhere. Otherwise, just the outstanding beauty of a flower can make you pause. I love the quietude that comes from simply having a vase of flowers near you.
This is why our concept of ‘flowers at all hours’ means so much to us here at ROCKFLOWER.
Best Rockflower story you’ve heard?
That I designed the overall weight distribution for the units in such a way that a rugby scrum couldn’t push it over.
Or that might just be the start of a new urban myth…!