Ikebana Unbound

Ikebana Unbound

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Ikebana is a Japanese art form that began in the fifteenth century, but a new generation of florists around the world have begun embracing its natural, minimalist ethos and reimagining it for the modern age. Studio Mondine is at the forefront of this movement; with their restrained approach, a few foraged branches and a single flower stem can feel as dramatic and elevated as a whole bouquet of pricey blooms.

The book is organized around five central tenets of ikebana: unity with nature, movement and direction, balance and imbalance, rhythm and repetition, and simplicity. Every chapter includes an essay explaining the key tenet followed by a series of representative seasonal arrangements. For each one, Luu and Matsuba discuss the design’s connection to ikebana philosophy and then offer readers step-by-step instructions for re-creating the arrangement, with photos showing the mechanics of building the piece (foliage manipulation, working with floral frogs, etc.).

In the Simplicity chapter, two bittersweet vines and single stem of amaryllis make for a dramatic fall statement. In Unity with Nature, a springtime “pondscape” takes shape, brought to life with a collection of muscari blooms, butterfly ranunculus, and leggy alliums. And in the chapter on Movement and Direction, palm bark is bent to resemble a strong current of wind, blowing through a valley of coreopsis. With hundreds of beautiful photographs and the authors’ expert intel, Ikebana Unbound is at once a primer on contemporary ikebana design and an inspiration for readers to create their own exceptional arrangements.

About the Authors

Amanda Luu and Ivanka Matsuba are the team behind Studio Mondine, a floral design studio based in San Francisco, California, which seeks to balance the simplicity of Japanese ikebana with the abundance of Western-style flower-arranging. Their work has been featured in the New York Times, Vogue, Real Simple, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Architectural Digest, and they have created arrangements for Everlane, Google, Parachute Home, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and more.