Why the Groucho Club is the best place to break the flower rules
Back in the olden days, when we first created Hybrid, we were slightly frowned upon by the worldly wise and highly respected floristas of London as we liked to ‘mix it up a bit’.
Hybrid by name and Hybrid by nature, our name was our mantra and we lived by the idea of mixing flowers that wouldn’t have been introduced to each other under normal circumstances. Traditionally, the unspoken rule for floral arrangements was that the flowers had to sit together in harmony and originate from similar part of the world.
Rebel without a cause
But hey! We were young, we were wild and we wanted to be a bit naughty so we decided to break the rules. And we think this cavalier and non-conventional experimentation with flowers paid off, as our creations looked lovely (even if we do say so ourselves) and earned us the honour of creating beautiful floral designs for events set within every imaginable type of venue across London.
Our daring creations included introducing an archetypal English flower, for example the bluebell, to something overtly tropical such as the flame-like petals of gloriosa lilies. We would put a nude coloured bloom with an acid yellow floret because, wait for it: We. Just. Didn’t. Care! If they looked good together, we would pair them.
Of course, the term Hybrid these days is banded about freely. The idea of creating something new by blending different ingredients is widely celebrated. A quick look on Instagram (#floralstylist, #ihavethisthingwithflowers) proves my point. Today’s florists don’t care that chrysanthemums have a reputation as being tacky petrol station flowers or that ferns remind most people of the 1970’s, they’re blending orchids with roses, palm leaves with delphiniums. Focussing on colour, texture and shape, rather than provenance and seeing what amazing new vibe can be created (even if it means placing spikey candy-pink blooms with dried turquoise painted leaves).
So when event planner Dani Pittorino came to us about a fund raiser dinner for the Asperger’s Syndrome Foundation she was organising at The Groucho club, we were delighted to say the least. We thought what better a location to unleash the rebellious Hybrid spirit than at this iconic private members club.
The Groucho Club is legendary. Created in the 1980s by a group of like-minded individuals who were fed up at being excluded by more traditional men-only member’s clubs. It has always enjoyed an exclusive member’s list; anyone can apply to join provided you’re nominated by 2 existing members (come to think if it, I’m still waiting for my nominations… anyone?). Often described using words like bohemian, rebellious, maverick, Groucho Club members don’t conform. There are some great stories about the shenanigans that have taken place there. Check this link out for more information.
The good news is, you don’t have to be a member of The Groucho Club to hold an event here. The venue can accommodate anything from private dinners to parties for up to three hundred guests.
Dani gave us carte blanche to create floral arrangements that she simply wanted to ‘look gorgeous’ for the dinner which was to be held in the stunning Snooker and Gennarro rooms. Our immediate thought was to design something that would celebrate the setting and utilise the beautiful mix of flowers available in late summer… we then progressed to thinking;
why not go back to our roots and use all our favourites in a true Hybrid-floral mashup?
Our flower list was extensive but each flower on it was vital; we simply couldn’t do without each and every one. We selected simple but shapely black and dark grey vases so as not to detract from the vibrancy of the flowers and the surrounding artwork (did we mention the art-work on display at the Groucho Club? It is impressive! The Genarro Room alone has works such as iconic image ‘David’s Eyes’ by Tony McGee, ‘Things I Think About When I Think Of You’ by Mark Mothersbaugh and ‘Q is for Quarters’ by Sir Peter Blake.)
We wanted British-grown dahlia in a rainbow of colours and sizes to be the glossy stars of our designs and combined them with beautiful elegant trumpets of vividly pink coloured nerines. Thrown in were glossy red leaf-shaped anthurium flowers, long with shiny red hypericum berries. Quirky canary yellow roses and fun balls of craspedia flowers made the designs sing, and fluffy textured peach carnations and velvety burnt orange celosia anchored the creations. Cobalt blue delphinium and purple vanda orchids provided the contrasting element and highlights of gold painted eucalyptus… a bit of curiosity. Finally, flowing grasses and opal heliconia flowers gave the shape and structure and added to the overall impact to the taller designs.
The night was a huge success, raising in excess of £40,000 for Asperger’s Syndrome Foundation. We are so pleased that our non-conformist floral designs added such a splash of colour to this fabulous event and couldn’t help feeling a satisfied that in eschewing conventional floral design, we’d created something eye-catching and interesting. In fact, a bit like the Groucho Club itself, we think that some things just work better when there’s a combination of thoughtful rebellion and mischievous defiance.
I was so excited to be able to collaborate with Hybrid at The Groucho Club for the Asperger’s Syndrome Foundation dinner. Caroline and her fabulous team did a perfect job working in this quirky and bright venue. Their vivid florals added even more vibrancy to the rooms, drawing on the unique art featured on the walls. We couldn’t have asked for more, or for better partners. Thank you so much!
With thanks to Promise Photography for amazing images of the night.