VivantAn exploration of natural food and floral installation
I aim to translate those moments, objects or feelings, and to simplify dishes so the essential ingredient can shine, in a way that everyone is able to understand
These photos are a result of a collaboration between NUE, a Parisian floral atelier, and ChefNANA, a culinary artist from Amsterdam. Their shared interest in natural ingredients opened up a fertile dialogue on the subject of dishes and plant based installations.
Why did you decide to collaborate on this project? To what extent were you influenced by each other’s work?
I am always looking for new ideas. Wherever I go in the world, I get inspiration from the local flowers and plants, and these are the main ingredients I cook with. When I found David’s work, I was immediately attracted to the still life photographs he took of Claire’s flower installations. They were presented in such a beautiful way; traditional but very modern at the same time. Claire brings a new perspective to the way people see flowers, she has a unique way of working with them. We wanted to see how we could find a way to combine the ingredients that are important to us both. Not using flowers simply for decoration, or plants simply for eating, we wanted to surprise, inspire and create something interesting with the ingredients that play such a big role in our daily lives.
Claire (founder of NUE)
My eye is drawn to the poetic and elegant way that Naiara presents her plates. Even more so by her aesthetic vision that takes consideration of colours, texture and shape. She overpasses “cooking” because her approach is artistic just as much as it is gastronomic.
We use the expression “art de la table” in France, the place where the pleasure of good food joins an aesthetic and decorative staging. I was enthusiastic to build those bridges since the beginning.
In a floral composition or a dish, which are your favourite ingredients?
Elderflower, nasturtium, hibiscus, wild rose, calendula flower and fireweed flower.
I love gathering things, using elements like bark, branches, moss and nuts. I also have a special relationship with dried flowers.
How does art influence your work?
For me, art is nature, it is my friends and the new people I meet, the food I eat in the different places I travel to, and the beautiful farms that I visit. I aim to translate those moments, objects or feelings, and to simplify dishes so the essential ingredient can shine, in a way that everyone is able to understand. Through cooking I can express my way of making art. I like to create food that feels natural, fresh and modern. And one which fits in our daily life.
Art influences my work on every single level. For instance, I wouldn’t create the same arrangement while listening to classical music than I would hearing an electro beat. Sometimes I leave an exhibition with an insane need to manipulate flowers, it gives me energy and the desire to constantly renew my work, it’s food for creativity.
What are your sources of inspiration at the moment?
Ceramicists, foragers, Japanese movies, fermentation experts, macrobiotic eating, Wabi-sabi interiors and Scandinavian cuisine. I am also inspired by traditional food preparation from other countries. For example Injera, an Ethiopian sourdough pancake made from teff flour.
At the moment I’m inspired by the photo albums of my grandmother that sum up family time and cooking books from the 1970’s. Flowers are present everywhere. And just like with fashion trends, it follows a particular style that is directly related to that specific period. In those times, we would start with an aperitif and lunch from 11:00 am to 6:30 pm, followed by another aperitif in time for dinner! And I’ve never known family lunches without flowers on the table. In reality, what interests me is not just the ornamental aspect of flowers but also how they connect to all the pleasures in life.
Where do you think your work would be best showcased: which setting or city?
My dream is to open a café in an unexpected location in Amsterdam. A small, minimal space filled with things I love the most, where produce-driven breakfast and lunch are served in handmade ceramics. It will feature beautiful flowers and a small garden where I can grow my vegetables, fruits, herbs, and edible flowers.
Photography and fashion are two fields in which I feel like I have the most freedom and creativity. The trends change so fast that when I’m faced with a demand from fashion clients, I’m also given an opportunity to express myself, as originality is often required. With photography you have the time to reflect and the ability to develop short and long term concepts with meaningful images. There is no specific setting, and I think my work will always be properly showcased as long as I have the chance to continue collaborating with other creative minds, hungry for the challenge.