Among the many different traditional Japanese arts, Japan’s special relationship with nature is perhaps best seen in ikebana, or flower arrangement. Taking this art form to new heights is “flower artist” Takayuki Tanaka and his floral design firm United Flowers, who collaborated with Tsutaya Electrics for their spring 2016 advertising campaign.
Everyday consumer electronics and appliances — a blow dryer, an iron, a refrigerator — are brought to life with these whimsical arrangements of plants, flowers, fruits, and vegetables. The juxtaposition of these static man-made objects against the vibrancy of nature is fitting of the campaign’s theme, “beauty in life.”
Takayuki Tanaka, the floral designer behind this campaign, has been involved in the floral art business for over ten years. Originally an editor at a publishing company, Tanaka shifted gears after working at Tokyo’s Ota Market, the largest flower and produce market in Japan. Now he works full-time with his flower design firm United Flowers creating installations and works of art for local governments, large corporations, small businesses, and individuals.
In the spirit of ikebana, Tanaka’s arrangements celebrate the fleeting, but beautiful, life cycles of plants and flowers. A series of wreaths he designed for a spread in the Japanese women’s magazine Fujin Gahō demonstrated the beauty of flowers even once they’ve withered and died.
As expressed on his website: “What lies in the core of Tanaka’s creativity is a firm faith in the power of flowers and plants to generate new ‘stories’ among people and to give more ‘life-force’ to peoples’ connections with each other. In this belief, Tanaka faces flowers and plants wholeheartedly, with a full awareness that he is taking their lives, and tries to bring out their ‘ultimate beauty’ in his own way.”