By Susan Rogers Chikuba
A Copenhagen native and 17-year Tokyo resident with celebrity status in Japan, Nicolai Bergmann has built a high-profile brand that unites floristry with the worlds of fashion and art. His “Walking with Fiori” collection for Italian bagmaker Furla has just launched worldwide; a forthcoming travelogue for Vanilla Air has him scouting Japan’s Amami islands for native plants. Drawn by the Scandinavian sense of flair he fuses with a Japanese appreciation for detail, brides from the Pacific Rim to Europe and the USA demand his designs, as do corporate clientele for their gala dinners and product launches. On the art front he holds solo exhibitions in rarefied places like Daizaifu Tenmangu, a Shinto sanctuary in Kyushu.
Enter Bergmann’s flagship store in Tokyo’s posh Minami-Aoyama district and you’ll see splashes of color that come from more than his sought-after arrangements. In the adjacent café Nomu, women in bright fashions from kimonos to hijabs talk animatedly over Smørrebrød and salads. Upstairs, the International School of Floristry welcomes as many as 250 students weekly. This palpable energy extends to all of Bergmann’s enterprises—he also runs four flower boutiques and a shop for contemporary Danish home designs in the capital.
With so many years in Japan, what does Bergmann see for the future? “We’re able to keep the momentum on so many projects thanks to this country’s love of flowers and design. We’re always trying to spark something with the Nordic connection. We’ve tried various things, not all of them have lasted, but that doesn’t stop us from experimenting. Until now most of our time has been spent in Tokyo with regular trips to Copenhagen—in either direction, it’s when you get out of a place that you see its plusses in a different light. It’s important to move out of your comfort zone.”
His latest adventure? “We’re trying to establish a three-hectare botanical park in Hakone. I want to get architectural with the plants—camellia bushes stacked like clouds, or stands of pine trees shaped in arrangements that will grow over time. Mostly I deal with things that have a lifespan of seven to ten days, so this is especially exciting. One thing’s certain, it’s a constant challenge and we never get bored!”
5-7-2 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo +81 3 5464 0716