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 organised around four central tenets of ikebana: naturalness, movement, balance, 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 Naturalness, 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, 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.