The best place to start when designing Christmas Installations

Recently on Instagram we posted that; ‘the best thing about being a florist in London’ was… wait for it…. ‘the interiors’. We’d like to slightly change that if we may to: ‘the best thing about being a florist in London?…. ‘the interiors AND the buildings’ because, especially at this time of year, we get to work at some amazing places!

You see, at Christmas time, we look at these buildings through festive eyes and have the honour, bestowed upon us by our fabulous clients, of creating Christmas installations, trees, wreaths, garlands and sparkly arches that celebrate, respect and complement a building’s past. At Hybrid, we take this very seriously indeed!

We have decorated the likes of Merchant Taylor’s Hall, which has seen 671 Christmases already, The Brewery on Chiswell Street (260 Christmases), The Grand Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden (243 Christmases) and The W in Leicester Square (8 Christmases), not to mention many other amazing buildings over the City of London, the West End and Canary Wharf.  Our clients include the city’s top law firms, finance companies, media companies and brands including Coca-Cola, Groupon and Bupa.  We have been asked to create everything, from luxurious classics to scandi-cosy and wild and wacky.

Working in these fabulous buildings gives us unique insight in to their history and design, we have discovered hidden secret passages and we get to see the rooms behind the scenes that not many people have the privilege of viewing.  Unsurprisingly, we sometimes develop strong feelings of attachment towards ‘our’ buildings. Of course, we know that these building don’t strictly belong to us per-se, its just that as we visit them at all times of the day and night; whether to install weekly floral designs or to decorate them with amazing party installations, we feel we have some claim over them.

At Christmas, we work tirelessly to discover new ways of bringing joy and merriment to our festive creations. This year we have marveled at the beauty and variation of fir cones and the stunning variety of dried flowers which can make the most Christmassy of designs. Each year we offer different designs that will complement the buildings they adorn, not only because our clients wish to inspire and impress their visitors with something different, but because we are always influenced by the history of a building.

The magnificent Post Building on Museum Street in Central London, WC1 is both stunning and impressive, it stands on the site of the original Royal Mail Sorting Office and therein lay our inspiration for this brand new beautiful space’s first ever Christmas installation.  Our brief was to add a dose of Christmas sparkle to the setting, to create an installation which is both impressive and elegant, and to tailor our designs to the story of the building.  For us, a perfect Christmas design brief!

And so we set to work, with a palette of pure white, metallic and deep reds incorporating lots of wintry elements. Inspired by birch trees, we kept designs elegant and natural yet chic; we enhanced the metallics found in the interior design of the space with a deep burgundy to add warmth and tradition.  We chose mirrored glass vases to echo the pattern of birch bark whilst natural birch trees, fir cones and dried flowers brought the outdoors in.  Glossy deep red berries and luxury reflective and matt baubles gave contrast and texture.

And then, for the fun bit!  We have a thing for brown paper and so wrapped parcels in un-waxed recyclable paper and tied them with classic red, white and green twine, we sourced perfect traditional hessian postal sacks and tied them with red velvet ribbon in giant bows. Our amazingly talented friend, Sarah wrote in glorious calligraphy personalising our letters to Santa, and to cap it off, we used traditional sealing wax to seal them with a ‘P’ for Post Building.

All this seems a while back now as we set it up at the beginning of December! We were touched by the amount of passers-by who stopped and noticed the twinkly atmosphere we had created and then looked again at the little postal touches and smiled as we explained how the Christmas story here was inspired by the history of ‘our’ building in London.

Photos by another great friend; photographer, Michael Ciancia


Where do florists find that magical Christmas feeling?

One might be forgiven for thinking that a busy London corporate and event florists would be made up of a group of hardened professionals, immune to the magic of Christmas. After all, we do spend a large part of the year focused on finding new festive colour schemes, sourcing unique decorations from near and far as well as carefully counting baubles for opulent pine trees. And don’t even get us started on Christmas spreadsheets!

With so much time spent on perfecting festive floral designs, transforming hotel ballrooms into winter wonderlands and creating kitsch holiday-themed table centres for fun corporate parties, perhaps, just perhaps, that sparkly Christmas feeling which ‘normal people’ experience may just pass us by.

However, sometimes the spirit of Christmas can strike you when you least expect it. Take the magical feeling we experienced the other day whilst passing the ice rink outside The Natural History Museum; hearing that eerie muffled sound of a cold winter’s night and the swish of skates on the ice. Looking up and seeing the naked plane trees covered in thousands of twinkling lights against the backdrop of the iconic museum. All of a sudden that lovely Christmas feeling makes you stop in your tracks.

So imagine our delight when we were sent a video of one of our own Christmas installations. We felt that tingly Christmas feeling just by looking back at our own work!

Let’s be honest; we do harbor a not-so-secret adoration of Merchant Taylors Hall. Such a building set within the imposing stone streets of the City of London will always give us that special feeling of excitement. One of the Great Twelve Livery Companies of the City of London, Merchant Taylors’ was established in mediaeval times in order to protect the interests of the tailoring trade. The threads and needles representing the trade of The Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors’ may well have given the name to Threadneedle Street where The Livery Company has been based since 1347.

That’s six hundred and seventy Christmases!

Whenever we are granted the great honour of decorating such a building it gives us a special sense of joy. Especially when you consider that this landmark venue has literally played host to hundreds and hundreds of Christmases; 670 to be exact.

With such a rich cultural history within its ancient walls this unique events venue embraces the very latest events trends so how could we not strive to reflect Merchant Taylors’ vast experience of hosting London’s finest Christmas events. As our Alan reflects;

It is every florist’s dream to get their hands on a space as stunning and historical as Merchant Taylors’, especially at this festive time of year, so my creative juices were overflowing when I set about submitting our ideas! Imagine my joy when they chose everything we had designed!

The overall styling was understated, incorporating lots of traditional fresh pine, cones, branches, silk pheasant feathers and artificial apples and oranges; combined with glittered poinsettias and sparkling leaves.  Along with gold asparagus fern, these were to feature throughout the decorations, including archways over the doorways, the wall light decorations, the stunning carved staircase through to the giant wreaths in the Great Hall and of course the 14ft tree!

A Hybrid Christmas at Merchant Taylors’ Hall from HybridFlowers on Vimeo.

The team at Merchant Taylors’ have always been a wonder to work with and had this to say about our Christmas decorations;

As Merchant Taylors’ Hall is an iconic mediaeval Livery Hall with a historic heritage and busy modern event space, it is hugely important to find the right partnership for its Christmas decorations. From the beginning, the Hybrid team worked closely with us, offering support, guidance and time. The creative design process was seamless and embraced the Hall and its heritage.

Looking back on these floral festivities still has the ability to revive our Christmas spirit. It just goes to show that the right floral decorations, combined with a truly stunning venue, can spark the magic of Christmas within even the most hardened of London florists. If that isn’t a Christmas miracle then we don’t know what is!