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Tableau doesn’t look like most flower shops. The Copenhagen studio, founded by Julius Værnes Iversen earlier this year, brings delicate blooms together with brute industrial materials and sells arange of design objects that play with the same contrast on a smaller scale. As Tableau transforms The Kinfolk Gallery into an industrial jungle for the exhibition Tables of Tableau, Værnes Iversen explains how he’s used art and design collaborations to upend our expectations of flowers.

You have a background in traditional floristry. What prompted you to take a more ambitious, art- and design-driven approach to flowers?

In my opinion, the floral industry was lacking some edge—the business is very archaic in many ways, not only in Denmark but internationally. I felt like florals were presented mostly as something romantic and cute and I had the urge to create a space that was more updated and contemporary; not only a flower store but something that functioned on many different levels.

My personal interest in art and design also played a big part in why I wanted to combine the different universes. I don’t believe that businesses, or creative fields, need to be held apart. I believe that a lot of different sectors can work together and might even create new opportunities. We partner with various artists who are able to work in the “grey zone” in-between art and design, and I find this as-yet-undefined classification of works hugely interesting. It’s not that I don’t respect an artwork for just being an art piece or a design object for having its function, but I just find it particularly interesting when function and art are being combined.

David Thulstrup created your Copenhagen showroom. How has he designed the space to reflect your interest in industrial construction?

David designed our space with industrial materials as a starting point. The furniture needed a specific function: it is designed to showcase other objects on, or around, it. I thought that flowers and objects needed to be showcased better and therefore we created these furniture objects, which we call “tableaux.” The whole idea of a space and studio called Tableau came from the word itself. It means a scene or a scenario; to showcase.

How can people experiment with these contrasts at home if they don’t live in a space that already has an industrial feel?

I think that contrasts in residential settings are in general a very good thing. I like it when people live with contrasts. Therefore it makes perfectly good sense, in my opinion, to have industrial materials at home. I like metallic furniture a lot.

Does your relationship with flowers and plants change with the seasons?

Yes, it does. I like seasonal flowers. In the same way I don’t like to eat strawberries during winter, I would never buy tulips in June; for me that’s strange.

Has social media had a positive impact on the floral industry?

I think social media has had a very big impact. Flowers are being used more and more in creative businesses which must have an impact on the floral industry as a total. I don’t think that it would have been possible to create Tableau even just a few years ago, because people bought less interesting flowers at that point. People are getting more and more interested in being unique—also with their flowers.

Tales of Tableau is showing at The Kinfolk Gallery until November 30.

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