Fleurs des Rêves

The world’s first colour changing flower shop - The London EDITION, February 2016

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Fleurs des Rêves, The London EDITION, February 2016

“Through the Unknown, we’ll find the New”
Charles Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal

Few can match the thrill of being given a sensual and luxurious bunch of flowers by a lover. For Valentine’s Day, for the first time in history, those flowers were able to change colour. Bompas & Parr collaborated with Perrier-Jouët Champagne to create Perrier-Jouët Fleurs des Rêves, an ultra-exotic flower shop in Basement of The London EDITION.

Visitors were be able to pick up bouquets of chameleon blooms, savour Perrier-Jouët champagne and join a workshop where participants created their own colour-changing flowers. 

Thermochromatic flowers on fire
Each of the colour changing flowers was hand painted with a thermochromatic ink. Thermochromatism is the property of substances to change colour due to a fluctuation in temperature and is one of several forms of chromatism.

For this project Bompas & Parr created two forms of colour changing flowers. The first was treated with a liquid crystal dye that changes at 27 degrees Celsius from a deep satin black to Champagne bottle green exhibiting all the hues regularly seen on the backs of beetles. Visitors could cup the flower in their and their lover’s hands to effect the transformation or even use their hot breath!

The second varietal of colour changing flowers was treated with a black thermochromatic dye that is transformed at 31 degrees Celsius. The bloom was then spritzed with Bompas & Parr’s perfumed crystal elixir and ignited. In the heat of the flame, the blossom changed colour revealing the original pigment. So the ritual of giving a bouquet became a total sensory onslaught, enhancing the fleeting enchantment of this Valentine’s tradition. 

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Your touching gift – workshops with meaning

In addition to picking up single stems and whole bouquets of the flowers at Perrier-Jouët Fleurs des Rêves, guest could participate in workshops learning to make their own. The workshop was hosted within the hot-house confines of Perrier-Jouet Fleurs des Rêves, and featured an audacious tasting of Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque, and floriography - the art of giving more specific meanings to flowers.

In the 19th Century flowers could be used for otherwise unmentionable propsitions; or to reject them! With the right combination of flowers it was possible to say almost anything without the need for words. It was still easy to slip up though – the language was so sophisticated that the sarcastic use of flowers has been documented and evolved quickly so that flower dialects emerged giving different meanings to the same flower. Basil, for example, could symbolize the asking for good wishes but also straightforward hatred.

For Valentine’s Day, we focused on the traditional red rose, the elegant anemone that adorns the bottle of Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque, as well as more carnal ultra-exotics like the orchid. Welcome to paradise…

Decadence and a floral vision quest
Perrier-Jouet Fleurs des Rêves drew inspiration from the fin-de-siècle French Decadence movement, characterized by the search for rarified sensual experiences and acts of arch connoisseurship. Huysman’s A Rebours (1884) is a crucial text, a book so provocative it featured in the Oscar Wilde’s trial. In one particularly notorious passage the protagonist becomes obsessed with flowers:

“He wished to go one step beyond. Instead of artificial flowers imitating real flowers, natural flowers should mimic the artificial ones”
Joris-Karl Huysmans, A Rebours

Our blooms went much further, by incorporating technochemicals and thermochromatic inks. By the same token the set design of the installation was built on the listless, bejeweled interiors of 1890s Parisian Salons with contemporary hypnogogic video art and technical lighting. Think Gustave Moreau’s Salomé seen through a pulsating lenticular screen!

The design was further inspired by the huge greenhouses of the House of Perrier-Jouët constructed in 1852 by friend of the vine Charles Perrier. This was the site of constant horticultural and botanical innovation with scores of exotic flowers and rare plants including over 300 varieties of orchid. The gardens and greenhouses were also the source of inspiration for the brand heraldry and anemone motif on Perrier-Jouët’s prestigious cuvée, Belle Epoque.

Hamish Millar, Senior Brand Manager of Perrier-Jouët comments:
“At Perrier-Jouët, we are eternally inspired by the Art Nouveau ethos of infusing art in the everyday experience, whilst valuing craftsmanship and the natural world. These thermochromatic flowers created by Bompass & Parr represent our innate philosophy perfectly and complement the element of surprise and ephemerality of nature, which Perrier-Jouët Fleur des Rêves represents. Bompass & Parr doing what they do best, creating rituals and experiences of a decadence that will make you think of the Belle Epoque.”

Lance Perkins, Director of Bars at The London EDITION, adds:
“We have always admired the creativity and innovation of Bompas & Parr and are delighted to partner with them for this ground-breaking Valentine’s Day experience.  We hope our guests will be wowed and entertained!”

Harry Parr of Bompas & Parr states:
“This Valentine’s day, see things no-one else can see, do things no-one else can do! Your lover will gush when you show them your perfumed wares. The colour-changing flowers will give them goosebumps.”

Flowers and dreams together forever!

Photography by Bompas & Parr and Daniel Resende.