VSB Loves: Lewis Miller's Flower Flashes

April 25, 2017

Lewis Miller has made me fall in love with flowers in a whole new way. The owner of Lewis Miller Design grew up pruning his grandmother's rose bushes and today he’s adding a lot of color to New Yorker’s lives with his series of inspiring floral art installations (called flower flashes) that have popped up everywhere from Chelsea to Central Park. Below, Lewis talks about his inspirations, tips for making your flowers last and how he filled our new SoHo store with daises!

Where do you look for inspiration?

Everywhere is the short answer. From the rows of tulips at my corner bodega to the color blocking at Casa Luis Barragan in Mexico City. Grace Coddington gave a great quote in the documentary The September Issue. She said, “Always keeps your eyes open. Keep watching. Because whatever you see can inspire you.” It's so true. For me, travel is paramount to inspiration. I recently visited Ernest Hemingway's home and museum in Key West, Florida. I was so switched on by the colors, all different shades of greens, ivory and black. From the wrought iron railings on the porch to the Art Deco tiling in the washrooms, every detail inspired me.

What inspired you to start creating the flower flashes in NYC?

It started as a really simple concept, to gift flowers to New Yorkers. To make the businessman and tourist and every day person in this gorgeous yet grimy city who is in transit, stop and smile. To prompt an emotional response through flowers. I have always approached the flower flashes as art installations and I am hoping my team and I can eventually bring the flashes to other cities. We have our eyes set on Paris at the moment…

We love how you filled our SoHo space with daisies, how did you come up with the concept?

I thought about the Veronica Beard woman and she seems to me to be so fresh and young. Daisies are a great flower as they are feminine but in large quantities they can be bold and I felt like that combination really embodied the spirit of your store and the vibe of the customer.
A floral installation by Lewis Miller at Veronica Beard SoHo.

How do you create a beautiful arrangement for the home?

I would say that the four basic principles to consider when creating a floral arrangement are: color, movement, shape and texture. When bringing nature into the home, you want to retain that wild, sumptuous feeling that flowers intrinsically have so you don't want to fuss with the flowers too much. Let them reveal their personality to you and work with their natural inclinations.

What are your favorite flowers for spring?

My favorite flowers for spring are the plethora of garden grown tulips that my team and I planted at my country house in Staatsburg. We planted every unique variety you can think of from Apricot Beauties to Zurel. They say that home grown vegetables taste the sweetest, well I can tell you that home grown tulips are the most beautiful! The difference between tulips you grow and tulips you buy is startling! The home grown ones are so much bigger, stronger, and more vivid.

What's your #1 tip for making your flowers last?

Always keep the vase full of water. It seems obvious but you’d be surprised at what heavy drinkers flowers are. Also, try and keep your flowers away from direct sunlight, vents, heat ducts or AC units. The other thing I would add is to celebrate a flower's life cycle. Don't try and fight against it. An arrangement is a living thing, by day three the flowers will have taken on a new shape. Many admirers and consumers of flowers abhor this process; they think it happens to quickly instead of surrendering to how beautiful the evolution can be. To witness a flower open and, in time, collapse is wonderful. Tulips especially! They are incredible shape shifters! They die so beautifully. The blossoms begin in the shape of an egg and then each petal stretches and opens wide before it falls away.