Big books

Dec 13, 2000 at 12:00 am

Forget having an arrangement of flowers displayed on your coffee table. Instead, install this gorgeous volume of exquisitely photographed, masterfully executed floral designs that will make your local florist’s most exotic bouquets look dowdy.

Not that there’s anything wrong with a bunch of lilies or daffodils, especially in the middle of winter, but these floral art works, created by noted Belgian designer Daniel Ost, go beyond mere home decor and into the realm of conceptual installations. Ost’s work takes floral design into an at once ethereal and earthly space, pushing the boundaries between art and design, arrangement and nature.

Ost’s work is inspired by fine art, and this stunning collection, which includes more than 200 full-color images, presents clearly contemporary pieces that call to mind various eras of art history, from baroque to minimalism and through some fantastic phases in between. In one, the sensuous beauty of a Georgia O’Keeffe, in another the rambunctious abundance of a Rubens. And it’s all done with flowers. For Ost, flowers, plants and leaves, twigs and sticks and other vegetative matter are simply materials to be used for their textural and tonal qualities. The issues of line and form, mass and color are essential to any floral design, but Ost’s work takes these elements more than seriously. By experimenting with the way stems and leaves, petals and twigs can be used independently, grouped or in ikebanalike precision, he has created an oeuvre of floral art that is as sculptural as it is ephemeral.

And the book demonstrates that to the most beautiful advantage. Ost’s work is glorious, glamorous and gorgeous. And it’s bound to turn Martha Stewart, with her precious little posies, celadon green with envy.

Check out other big books which will transform your coffee table into a gallery this season.

Alisa Gordaneer is MT features editor. E-mail her at [email protected].