Van Cleef & Arpels couldn’t have picked a better collaborator for its latest Florae exhibition than photographer, director and artist extraordinaire Mika Ninagawa, who premises her artistic style around bright, colourful and highly-saturated flora, fishes and landscapes.
The dreamy exhibition at Hôtel d’Évreux, on Place Vendôme in Paris explores – with free reign, no less – an intersection of her brilliant works and the Maison’s most breath-taking floral creations. Florae’s immersive décor is designed by architect Tsuyoshi Tane, where over a hundred precious pieces from Van Cleef & Arpels’ patrimony collection and contemporary jewels – from the 1920s to the 2000s – are juxtaposed against the Japanese artist’s vivid photographs.
Nicolas Bos, the President and CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels, says the uniqueness of Mika’s photographs lies in her immersive approach. “Rather than focusing on a particular detail, she creates an overarching universe made up of images that plunge viewers into the heart of nature. That sense of immersion also gave rise to the exhibition’s striking decor: Mika and Tsuyoshi imagined a welcoming labyrinth where visitors lose all notions of scale and distance,” he explains.
Surrounded by a compendium of photographs and jewels, they contemplate a transcendent dialogue between precious stones and projected petals. It all comes together in a magical experience, he adds.
Mika, through her craft, strives to perpetuate the short-lived radiance of flowers, letting it abide in her photos. “Like me, Van Cleef & Arpels is fascinated by nature’s transformations. Seeing how the Maison seeks to replicate the movement of flowers in its jewellery inspires me greatly. These pieces and my photographs echo each other in the exhibition. Together, they spark a new fascination for flora,” she says.
To delight visitors, the artistic dialogue between jewellery and photography is brought to life by architect Tsuyoshi Tane, founder of Paris-based Atelier Tsuyoshi Tane Architects (ATTA). The immersive set design is rooted in two main concepts – the kaleidoscope (note the infinite chromatic effects) and the maze for visitors to get lost in, ala Alice in Wonderland.
If you’re heading to Paris anytime soon and you love steeped-in-heritage jewellery, then don’t miss the Florae Exhibition which ends November 14. Entrance to the exhibition is free upon reservation, more details here.