A young man has reinvented the way to preserve the fragrance of a flower. It is a genuine cross-checking of ideas and concepts. He is a very pleasant professional creator and gardener. He started his own business at an early date. As he is not able to express himself artistically enough, he goes through Asia in search of inspiration. The result? A perfect Franco-Asian blend:
Today, his soap flowers are handmade with an incredible precision. He sells and exhibits his works of art throughout Europe. This year until 15 September, they can be found every evening at the night market of Bandol. There, people are queuing because his creations are so unique and beautiful that it is impossible to make a choice.
Its flowers are so realistic and perfect as only nature can make them that it feels like there must be a machine in Asia equipped with the latest technology to manufacture them. However, as you can see on site, this young man with soft eyes makes them with his own hands. But beware: you will not be able to make a quick choice too because each and every flower is prettier than the latter, and the next one is even more beautiful than the one before. What about him? He is called on to do more. He also produces custom orders of all sizes and shapes for his worldwide clients from Réunion or Guadeloupe, for example.
He is most passionate about creating a unique piece of craft. He is available to lead workshops, give courses or organize demonstrations during events such as weddings. In winter, he does not rest and he is still active: Paris, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg.
Ways and Work of Nicolas FLORIANT
You have a great job: originally, you are a gardener. When did you discover your passion for nature and especially flowers?
I always liked being outdoors. When I was a kid, I used to go to the countryside to visit my grandfather who has a beautiful garden with a wide variety of fruit trees and beautiful flowers. I felt good, I felt relaxed.
What kind of a child were you? Rather playing outside and discovering nature with messy hair, dirty knees and looking for fishes to catch, or more like the picture perfect boy who stays inside the house and draws, reads stories or listens to music while daydreaming?
I would go home with dirty hands and dirty hair after spending the day building shacks with my friends.
Is there a word or colour that could describe your childhood?
What would you say the most important thing parents can give their child is [besides love and shelter]?
Dreams, because they can come true when imagining and dreaming about beautiful things.
What does really matter in life?
A loving family, because I think it is the real wealth. Then, doing some good to people around us.
What was the most impressive place you ever went? What was the most notable encounter, event, gesture or conversation you attended and why?
The most impressive encounter I had was in South East Asia when I met my master sculpture teacher. At first, he taught me about fruits and vegetables sculpture. Long months were necessary to master this art.
If something was missing in modern times, what would it be?
Maybe flying cars to avoid traffic jams around big cities.
Is beauty fleeting?
Beauty just depends on how the eye tries to frame it.
Has art changed your life and if so, how?
Indeed, art has changed my everyday life because it is a daily satisfaction. I think art is a way of expressing myself. Without art, I would certainly be less happy. What a pleasure to make people experience emotions from almost nothing and make them discover art and handicraft.
Where did you get the idea? Is it the idea of wanting to preserve this authentic and unique fragrance of a flower that made you discover soap? It reminds us of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille who killed women in order to preserve their perfume. You use perfume oils from Grasse, the world-famous city of perfumers and where the German film “The Perfume: A Murderer’s Story” is set, based on Patrick Süskind’s novel (sold more than 20 million copies and translated into 48 languages, editor’s note).
Yes, the idea is to be able to keep the perfume of a pretty flower long enough to perfume a room without that flower fading. Another reason is that among the patterns to be carved in soap, flowers with their chiselled petals and their very fine pistils are the most complex patterns to produce and therefore they are the most impressive creations. And besides, I don’t even need to kill women for that, haha…
What was the hardest thing to do when you got involved and invested in this kind of handicraft?
The hardest thing was to concentrate on one task. I have many ideas and when I have one, an even better new idea comes up. So I start to create this new style of flowers and during the creation, I think about the new flowers I will produce after.
You are from the South of France. What is Provence for you?
Provence is a magical place with all these scents of lavender, rosemary, all these sounds of cicadas… a place that is full of life and inspires me.
Flowers and women…. How to choose the ideal bouquet or THE beautiful flower for your wife, mother, the people you like?
I think it is the shape of the flower and its symbolism that influences people above all. Some people offer cactus flowers to their mother-in-law, I think the message is clear… haha.
If it is about love, I think the rose is a very suitable one. If it is about exoticism, it will be a hibiscus or frangipani flower. For a zen person, give a lotus. If it is about sensuality or eroticism, the orchid is all found.
Concerning women, they don’t really have the right to offer flowers to their boyfriend because it is always weird. Do you think it is never going to change, do you think that it should change?
It should change! Flowers are beautiful for everyone: men, women, children, grandparents.
As an artist (craftsman), what were the 2 most important moments of your life and why?
The first one was when I met my sculpting master, an ex-Buddhist monk, in Luang Prabang (located in the north of Laos / editor’s note), who turned me into the artist I am today. My influence is Asian and I try to retain it while presenting my art with my way of seeing things as a westerner.
The second one was with a buyer who started to cry when she saw my productions. She told me that she had never seen such beautiful things in her life and was very touched to see art being expressed in this way. She was completely overwhelmed.
Is it possible to order flowers? What are your deadlines?
Of course! Anyone can place an order, it’s very simple and the deadlines are generally rather short. Just visit www.fleurs-de-savon.com
For large and unique models that are not available on site, simply send an email to make a purchase.
Who are your clients and where are located your points of sale?
My clients can be art buyers or private individuals looking for a nice present to give. I also sell to perfumeries, flower shops, restaurants, hotels and works councils.
A website has been specially created for the orders of professionals: www.pro-fleurs-de-savon.com
What is (or was) the most difficult step in creating a soap flower?
No doubt it is the center of the flower which is very thin and difficult to make.
Is there anything else you’re passionate about?
Everything that relates to creation.
What is your favorite color?
What is your favourite song/singer/music?
My favorite song is Hotel California from The Eagles.
What is beauty?
A good thing.
How many languages do you speak? Is one of them your favourite, and if so, why?
I speak French and English. I think each language has its own way of thinking, so it’s important to learn new ones.
French is my mother tongue, so I prefer it to English.
A real proverb or expression in any language?
“Art is an abstraction, which is the only way to ascend towards God to create like our divine master” (Paul Gauguin).
If you were to speak to the young, aspiring or dreaming, you would say….
Believe and go for it because no one will do it for you!
If you could freely step back in time, where would you go first and why?
I would certainly go back to the 80’s to party a little bit and see if the nights were so crazy, as they say.
If you lived in a castle up on the hills, who would you invite to a 7 course dinner with you sitting on the other end of that long, very long table, and why?
How about a bunch of friends?