Flower markets that can lift the spirit

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Flower markets that can lift the spirit

People love flowers for their beauty, and they are a favourite subject for artists and poets. Monet’s water lilies, Van Gogh’s sunflowers and Wordsworth’s daffodils, for example. In a busy city, flower markets can be places to calm the mind and raise our spirits. Let’s visit four of Shanghai’s major flower markets, sense the fragrance and meet the people working there. Wan Juan, a floral designer and teacher, arranges flowers at her studio in International Floricultural Times Plaza. International Floricultural Times Plaza 国际花艺时代广场 The International Floricultural Times Plaza was transformed from the original Hongqiao Antique Center, a shikumen -style compound of around 100,000 square meters. Selling antiques alone brought few customers. The addition of flower stores increased the plaza’s popularity. “When I was a kid, a tour to the former Jiangyin Road Flower Market would keep me feeling delighted for several days. You know, it was the flower market that Bill Clinton and his family visited about two decades ago,” said Wang Yuanjing, a manager at the International Floricultural Times Plaza. Song Yu, a 44-year-old flower merchant from Yancheng City in east China’s Jiangsu Province, inherited his parents’ business 20 years ago and now owns the Shanghai Songyu Flower Store at the plaza’s underground flower wholesale area. “When I started my business two decades ago, the variety of flowers was limited. As people’s living conditions improved and their need for flowers grew, more and more kinds of flowers were imported from abroad,” said Song. Wan Juan, a floral designer and teacher who owns Jane’s Floral Studio on the plaza’s first floor, used to be a tea specialist. At one tea ceremony performance when arranging flowers was also performed, Wan felt she was at her wits’ end and decided to explore floral design. “I am a follower of the Ohararyu ikebana. There are three schools of ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement: Ikenobo, Ohararyu and Sogetsu. Ikenobo emphasizes solemnity, Sogetsu has a tendency toward modernity, whereas Ohararyu falls in between,” said Wan, who has been invited by a Jing’an District community cultural activity center as its flower arranging teacher. Zhang Hui and Yan Wei, a couple of the post-80s generation, run a FX Art Layout vase store on the plaza’s fourth floor. Zhang entered the floriculture industry in 2000 and Yan joined him after they got married. “The difficulty of my work lies in good supply,” said Yan. “She refers to the gap between our designers’ requirements and what the factories can actually produce,” said Zhang. “We as shop owners serve as the mediation and try to bridge the gap.” Zhu Guangrong, art director of the Langtuo Visual Art Studio on the fourth floor of the plaza, runs a unique paper sculpture designing business focused on showroom design for department stores, galleries and household domestic decoration. In his youth, Zhu was a cloth designer who also liked painting in his spare time. He felt satisfied that he finally integrated his interest into his career. A wedding props store named […]