In the Studio with Ruby Barber, the Florist Behind Berlin-Based Mary L

In the Studio with Ruby Barber, the Florist Behind Berlin-Based Mary Lennox

Ruby Barber’s studio, photograph courtesy of Becca Crawford. Flowers have no place in Ruby Barber’s apartment. “I shouldn’t say this… but I really enjoy not having them around,” confesses the floral designer behind the avant-garde botanical studio Mary Lennox. The same cannot be said for her workspace, an airy studio in Berlin’s Schöneberg neighborhood. The afternoon light that filters through its large bay windows stains the terracotta floor and walls a plummy red. In this wash of color, the bundles of cherry branches, heaps of silky pampas grass and paper-leafed mandarins that cover Barber’s work table take on the saturated, overripe glow of a Flemish still life. It’s no wonder that the likes of Chanel , Gucci and Versace have tapped Barber to breathe life into their campaigns, runway presentations, and boutiques. Ruby Barber in her studio, photograph courtesy of Becca Crawford. When Barber started Mary Lennox (named for the spoiled British schoolgirl in Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden ), she was in her early twenties and focused on, “you know, flowers in a vase.” Now that the neat-headed, bare-stemmed bouquet has gone the way of the promise ring and the sweater set, Barber has loosed unruly tangles of hops vines and dusty cones of amaranth from the confines of the vase and allowed them to take over the entire room. There’s a heady chaos to Barber’s installations, a hint of hedonism where order once reigned. Roses and tulips have given way to dark, waxy grapes as long as pinky fingers for Italian gin maker Villa Ascenti, frothy masses of raw cashmere for Loro Piana , and dense mists of Queen Anne’s Lace that creep across hallways and condense in the air like sentient storm clouds, in an immersive installation she created for Chanel. To take in Barber’s […]

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