In the pursuit for beauty and elegance, Saskia Havekes of Grandiflora turns to one of nature’s most beautiful gifts – flowers
A small corner of Culina at COMO Dempsey overflows with colourful blooms and sumptuous green foliage, bringing a slice of the tropical outdoors in. Welcome to the Singapore outpost of Grandiflora, a celebrated flower shop from Sydney, Australia. Founded by Saskia Havekes in 1995, Grandiflora has popped up in various corners of the globe since then, bringing with it luxurious floral arrangements that add instant drama, as well as intoxicating scents from its in-house range of scented candles and fine perfumes.
We recently sat down with Saskia to learn more about the brand, the botanical masterpieces they create, as well as the special relationship she has with nature and flowers.
What led you to working with flowers full time?
Flowers are my everyday obsession. I find them intoxicating and addictive, and their purpose to allure for reproduction has caused them to adapt in shapes, colours, and sizes earning my respect. As a child, I was forever surrounded by the Australian landscape and a beautiful garden that surrounded our home. I would create tiny Tussie Mussies (Small Posies) from all sorts of flowers in my surroundings. I was always interested in their fragrance and combined fragrances. After travelling and living in New York and stalking flower markets and florist’s worldwide, I decided to head home to Sydney to start my path with working amongst flowers full time.
What feelings do flowers evoke when you are working with and surrounded by them?
Being submerged amongst so much fragrance, texture, tones, elegance, and bizarre designs drew me closer and closer every moment, right into the vortex of my tiny studio where large quantities of a curated choice of the natural world grace our workspace. As we convey many messages through flowers, they have become emotional ambassadors and I have a psychological fascination with each interpretation. I feel like a conduit when I work with flowers. I have a responsibility to help them be their best natural selves, ready for their moment. This works with any work I do with nature or flowers. Most of the time, I feel like I’m on a high! I feel luxuriant, enthusiastic, and caring.
Are there certain types of flowers you are obsessed with at the moment?
Without a doubt, Magnolia! Particularly the Magnolia grandiflora. We have created two perfumes based on this flower. Magnolia has an unsurpassed elegance and fragrance; its architecture is sublime – large leathery petals and a tower of stamens with a crimson band against the pristine white flower. I also love Gardenias for their fragrance and memories, as each time I smell one, I am reminded of my childhood.
You’ve managed to turn a passion project into a global success, which branched into books, candles, and perfumes. What’s your secret?
I would credit it to the attention on my team who have been the core of everything. The dynamic talent is a collective that forms peaks and valleys and I rely on connecting with the right projects through the right people with the right timing. There is also dedication in the hours spent on detail – there is no doubt flowers demand hours of attention and sweat.
What made Singapore a great location for a Grandiflora outlet?
Being in Singapore has been a great opportunity to introduce our style to a new city. We offer a fresh approach to bringing the natural world inside, which seems new and less traditional to Singapore. Our connection to Culina and Club 21 also made Singapore a wonderful destination and new home for us.
Since opening in Singapore, are there any local plants or flowers that you’ve enjoyed working with? What do you think they add to the finished product?
Vanda orchids like I’ve never seen before, as well as the wide variety of orchids in general take my breath away! There is colour and longevity that brings a glamorous touch to our work, resulting in an eye-catching finished product.
Visit Grandiflora at Culina at COMO Dempsey, Block 15, Dempsey Road, Singapore