This new Van Cleef & Arpels exhibition is pure floral fantasy
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One of the greatest historical influence relationships is that of flowers and jewelry. For centuries, jewelers have studied the natural world in search of a muse, resulting in some of the most iconic designs in the category. Among the best wills? The vast collection of jewelry inspired by Van Cleef & Arpels, past and present.
From ruby encrusted dahlias to forget-me-not dotted with sapphire, the jewelry house has been making full use of this special bond since 1906. Van Cleef & Arpels now delivers floral interpretations to admirers in a different format: “Florae,“ an exhibition that exuberantly associates the duo, thanks to the brand’s archives and the works of Japanese photographer and filmmaker Mika Ninagawa.
Presented at the Hôtel d’Évreux on Place Vendôme in Paris until November 14, the exhibition is an immersive floral display on chromatic steroids. Eccentricly luminous and on an impending scale, Ninagawa’s photograph of dahlias, roses, cherry blossoms and more, in saturated colors, contrasts wonderfully with the delicacy of her jewelry counterparts.
Despite the fact that the exhibition deals with an ephemeral subject – flowers, whose flowers disappear in a few weeks – the exhibition deals with the themes of immortality and memory. From Ninagawa’s perspective, the beauty of the flowers is meant to be preserved, as are the priceless jewelry in the display cases. “By photographing the flowers, I seek to capture and immortalize their fleeting beauty,” she tells AD PRO. “Nothing lasts forever, so I want to preserve this beauty as it appears at a specific time.”
In total, the collection features more than 100 Van Cleef & Arpels pieces, notably from the Patrimony collection as well as contemporary styles.
To further materialize the sentiment, Van Cleef & Arpels and Ninagawa worked with architect Tsuyoshi Tane, of the Paris-based Atelier Tsuyoshi Tane Architects, to develop the architecture of the exhibition. Wanting to encourage spectators to take their time in the space, Tane uses reflective glass walls to create a stunning procession, as if one were venturing into a prismatic garden, with the photograph of Ninagawa projected everywhere.
“In a sense, you can also get lost in this exhibit as the space changes along the way,” says Tane, alluding to the hope that visitors “will discover something new”. A natural extension of the company’s flagships, the exhibition is simply enchanting.