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Nicolai Bergmann, a native of Copenhagen and now a resident of Tokyo, has successfully established himself in Japan as a contemporary flower artist by combining Scandinavian and Japanese styles.

“I always use my brain to come up with ideas to impress people when they receive my bouquets,” said 39-year-old Bergmann, who runs a flower shop and cafe in Tokyo’s Aoyama district.

Bergmann’s distinctive arrangements have caught the public’s eye, leading him to expand the field of his activities into holding exhibitions, designing fashion items such as shoes and watches, and appearing on TV programs.

Speaking fluent Japanese, Bergmann explained that it was only natural for him to enter the world of flowers as his grandfather ran an apple plantation and his father was in the flower wholesale business.

“I have known how fun it is to grow plants since I was a small child,” he said.

After graduating from a gardening school in Denmark, he moved to Japan in 1999, one of the countries his father did business with.

Bergmann worked at a flower shop in Saitama Prefecture and soon found himself working long hours every day.

Recalling those days, Bergmann said that it was indeed hard, but that “I was sure that the difficult challenge would help me grow.”

Inspired by traditional Japanese cultures such as kimonos and folding screens as well as temples and shrines, he started using flowers in sober colors and mixing branches and nuts, a style that rarely appears in Scandinavian arrangements.

The “Flower Box” he unveiled in 2000 made his name known to the world.

The unique idea of arranging flowers in a black box and its beautiful color gradations gained strong popularity and it has become his signature product.

Bergmann said what he values when making a bouquet and arrangement are its color combination and visual balance and most of all, if it is “surprising.”

“If you close your world, you will find no fresh inspirations,” Bergmann said. “I will rather open myself (to ideas and inspirations) as much as possible.”

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