If florists are the new chefs, shouldn't flower shops be in every restaurant? YES. Already a player on Bon Apetit's Top10 Restaurants in America list, Raleigh's it spot Brewery Bhavana seamlessly blends feast and flora. I was super excited to get in touch with their flower shop Creative Director Deana Nguyen to find out how this ultra hip concoction of flowers and dim sum came about. Because after all, dim sum is amazing but dim sum + beer + flowers? Amaaazing. #itsplantporn
IPP: what is your background& how did you begin working with flowers?
DN: I have always found comfort and ease in expressing myself through art. Over the years, I have explored numerous mediums including painting, ceramics and jewelry making- you name it. About two and a half years ago, I fell in love with the idea of using flowers as an art medium with the intention to help open Brewery Bhavana’s flower shop.
During the summer of 2015, I drove across the country from North Carolina to California to apprentice with a florist in Sonoma County, Jaclyn K. Nesbitt. After my experience in California, I drove back to Raleigh and continued studying and experimenting with flowers part-time while working in a restaurant downtown. The following summer 2016, I was presented with the opportunity to portray flowers as art through an artist residency at The Pink Building here in Raleigh, a collective of local artists. At the end of my time at the Pink Building, I had an exhibition that focused on the cyclical nature of flowers and a collection of arrangements: old and new, living and dead. Since then, I have able to learn and practice floral design by doing a handful of pop-up shops, designing custom arrangements, and a few weddings for close friends up until we opened the shop this past March.
IPP: tell us about the flower shop at Brewery Bhavana.
DN: The flower shop is located in the center of the Brewery Bhavana. We provide in house arrangements, custom arrangements and a delivery service is in the works. Brewery Bhavana is a multi-concept space located in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina. It houses the brewery’s taproom (the brewery facility is just a little over a mile down the road), a Dim Sum restaurant, a book shop and a flower shop. The owners of the space are good friends of mine and the idea of having the flower shop came naturally during the ‘dreaming’ phase a few years back. We wanted to work together to bring what we admire and love about flowers to the community that we are a part of. It was a simple but spontaneous idea that blossomed (pun intended) into a reality this past March when we opened our doors to the public.
The flower shop at Brewery Bhavana invites guests to view the flowers in a thought provoking way. We designed the space to allow people to see and engage in the creative process of floral design. Usually floral studios are tucked in the back to allow space to hide the mess that is made during production. Our studio is front and center for people to see the beauty of the creative process and arranging.
Flowers and plants are transformative and add as much life and energy as people do into a space. Having a flower shop in Brewery Bhavana was a no-brainer to us but confusing to many others when we first announced the concept. Having a date night at the restaurant and want to pick up flowers on your way out? Stayed out a little too late drinking beers with your friends and need a little pick-me-up to take home to your loving, patient partner? Need an arrangement to be set on the table to enhance a friend’s dining experience before they sit down? We got you. The possibilities and experiences are endless and the outcome is always so damn rewarding.
IPP: what does a typical day at work look like?
DN: Everyday is pretty different depending on our stock and how many orders we need to make a day. Since we make our arrangements in house daily to stock the shop, I usually get flowers on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The color palette of the flowers for the shop changes weekly and can be inspired by what is in season, a color combination, or even my mood. We try to source locally as much as we can especially during the warmer seasons since it is the most abundant.
IPP: How would you describe your floral aesthetic?
DN: Thought-provoking, meditated and ever-changing is how I would describe my aesthetic. I often find inspiration for my compositions in the stems of the flowers more so than the bloom itself. I love finding those unique, curvy stems that I could use to accentuate and showcase that would set the overall mood of the composition.
IPP: What is currently blooming in North Carolina?
DN: A lot of amazing things to play with! Lisianthus, zinnias, amaranth, different kinds of ornamental grasses.
IPP: What is your spirit plant and why?
DN: I honestly cannot think of one! I have a hard time choosing just ONE of anything. I don’t think there is one type of flower or plant that embodies my personality since I am so mood driven and that can change so often and are dependent on so many elements! So my spirit plant(s) is everything and none at all!
Thank you Deana!
VISIT DEANA AND THE FLOWER SHOP AT:
218 S Blount Street
Raleigh, NC 27601