Her charming shop on Colombia Road will make you gush with flowery fantasies, her vertical flower walls carry you to the centre of a Klimt painting; Rebecca Louise Law transforms spaces to an enchanting floral emporium.
It’s so wonderful that it’s no wonder she collaborated with NikeLab X Riccardo Tisci- Training Redefined for the launch of the new sportswear collection. Rebecca created a jaw-dropping immersive flower installation using over 20,000 flowers that will stay in the Nike Lab, 1984 for a month.
Riccardo Tisci’s sportswear collection includes kaleidoscope and floral prints. The flower prints were inspired by Riccardo’s hometown in Italy, Nike’s base; Oregon, and Rio de Janeiro. The new NikeLab collection carries performance technologies, such as Dri-FIT and Flyknit. There’s a vast array sportswear to choose from.
LOVE caught up with the flower-child behind the beautiful instillation…
The instillation looks incredible, how long did it take?
It was two weeks of intense wiring in my studio, then we had one night of actually installing it. It was lot of preparation, and organisation and making sure that I visualized the pattern I had with the material I had, and then packing them all up in boxes and bringing it here and making it come to life.
Did they give you a palette?
I got one of Riccardo’s patterns and I really wanted to bring that to life, make it 3D, and make it feel like you were inside one of his patterns. I would’ve loved to use the materials he had, but my work is all about longevitity and being ever- his main ingredient was lilies and they dry really badly so it would be so wasteful for me to use it. I’ve taken the colours from the palette of the pattern, and so you’ve got green, yellows, orange, blues…
Do you use flowers that are in season?
I may have preserved or dried them previously so they can be from any season. With these ones, they’re traditional French and dutch grown flowers, so they will probably last summers crop. Theyre cutting now for the next season.
How many flowers did you use?
We started out with 300 stems but with each stem you can get up to 10 flowers, so I think all in all, including all the different variety of flowers, it’s probably around 20000- 30000 flowers. Which is a lot…
What do you do with them afterwards?
I never throw anything away. Maybe another art work for Nike, or back in to boxes to be stored then I can use them for instillations in the future where they can go into more of a gallery setting, not so much a brand.
Did you start of as an artist or florist?
How did you come to use flowers as a medium?
I was a painter. I did really large scale oil on canvas, and I felt frustrated with the fact that I couldn’t create what I felt in nature on a painting. So all my work was really bold and colourful and I’d always take flowers as my inspiration. However, to actually have that feeling you have when you’re outside in the country, you can’t quite get it right on the canvas. So I started experimenting with materials and eventually I started using flowers to create that. That was back in 2003. Ever since I’ve been experimenting with flowers as sculpture material.
Does your personal work differ from collaborations?
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a collaboration or not, it’s whether it’s my art work. So I feel very strongly that I’ll do a collaboration but it is an expression of my work. This piece is one of my first pieces in London where you can actually fully immerse yourself in the flowers, and Nike were really happy to help that happen, and to collaborate alongside Riccardo Tisci patterns.
In scale how does it relate to your other pieces?
I’ve just been in Australia, and we did an instillation with over 150,000 flowers…
Did you source the flowers in Australia?
Yeah. I went back 4 times during the year and the instillation took 6 weeks… It’s there for indefinitely 10 years.
How do they stay in tact for 10 years?
The flowers have been preserved, and I will intertwine every flower with copper. It’s not just flowers, a lot of the installation is copper. The copper holds everything together. The piece in Australia is completely held by copper.
Do they ever fall?
What will happen eventually is the flowers will bleach, and maybe shrink but there’s no moisture in them anymore, no living organisms. Every flower have got oils, essential oils, and when you dry them in the right way they oils hold the whole flower together. It becomes a bit like paper. The preserving method is actually a very old method but it works very well.
What’s been one of the strangest requests/ location you’ve had to do an instillation in?
We were asked to do an instillation in Japan, and we were so excited about going to Japan that we did no research at all… We ended up at a theme park which was an exact replica of Holland- places in Holland. We had to do an instillation in what was an exact replica of the Royal Palace in Holand. So it was really bizarre… everything had dutch architecture, and everything was dutch, and then there were these Japanese cartoons everywhere, and pop music full blast throughout the whole of this place. We had to be there for a week! I thought I was in some crazy dream.
How many people do you work with?
I have two full time staff, 1 part time and then we have a team of about 15 loyal freelancers.
Do you spend a lot of time making work for your shop?
The work on Columbia road are my smaller pieces that tend to be made from waste flowers that tend to be left over from other jobs. When I have time out I might try to sculpt with or make smaller pieces. They’re nothing like the big instillations, so the work that people see in the studio a lot of time they don’t associate with my main work which is the installations.
Do you use the flower vendors on Columbia?
Not really, my work is so big… I use hundreds of thousands of flowers and those guys bring them in the hundreds…
If you were a flower which would you be?
A wild flower in a field. For sure.
If you could an instillation anywhere, where would it be?
I really want to create an instillation in the Turbine hall. And I’ve thought about it when I first started doing flowers of creating this inverted meadow and completely filling the space and have people lie down and enjoy it. But we’ll see…
How was the process working with Nike?
It was so good, it was a really fast process. I think them and myself would’ve preferred to have more time but we got it done, and its that attitude of, we want that to happen so let’s make it happen.
Which was your favourite piece from the collection?
How long will this installation be up for?
What are you going to do with the flowers after?
Maybe a piece for the Nike headquarters, but I have to see. Once you take down an installation you kind of have to start again. It becomes a whole new piece.
Thanks to the Impossible project