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A floral fantasy: We talk dreams with Europe’s Nicolas Barelier

Nicolas Barelier

Jake Daniels talks to Nicolas Barelier, from Roni Floral Designs, about his exotic portfolio of luxury floral arrangements for weddings, red carpet parties, events and birthdays.

The first time you meet Nicolas Barelier, you can’t quite distinguish what it is that captivates you. It’s his overall heavenly aura. Your intuition speaks for itself. He is with no doubt the most charismatic character to reflect the same mesmerising beauty as his floral creations. Although maybe it’s actually the enchanting spark and enthusiasm blossoming from his pearly white smile and humbleness illuminating from his eyes. An exclusive and elaborate Parisian working in the family label RONI floral Design.

He expresses the magic of his visualisations, making dreams a reality. Nicolas says he was “always fascinated and attracted by the sculpture, painting and drawing; Art in all its forms”. This led him to collaborate in his family’s floral business. “I was going to make my drawings a reality,” he explained. And he did.

Born to a family of floral designers, he demonstrates similar character traits to his great-grandfather who was the first to exhibit unprecedented designs. He was best known as the Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Craftsman of France) in 1887. The floral family spirit roots back to the 1800s, as Nicolas explains: “My family is from a farming background and we have been florists for 4 generations; the passion for it is in my blood. These family values push me to the excesses of a decoration keeping the best of my roots.”

Nicolas Barelier
Nicolas’ innovative approach to projects and events is a remarkable experience in itself

This same craving for creating the vision and bringing it to life was passed down the line to the four siblings in the family. Emmanuel is the businessman, Jean-Marie and Audrey juggle perfectly between commercial consistency and creative gifts while Nicolas has the artistic designer touch. Together making an exceptional team. The saying goes: “There is no rule in the arrangement of a bouquet. The most important rule in floral art is that there are no rules.” If there are no rules in floral composition, then technical mastery promotes freedom of expression. Beyond simple floral arrangements, RONI creates a flourishing floral universe transformed into delicate lines, fragrances and precise architectural finesse.

The talented Nicolas’ first ever participation in a project was when he was 20 years old, he tells me: “It was a private dinner in the Cap d’Antibes, in France and the theme was Provencal. The three of us, my brothers and I, all dressed the same way: a white shirt with rolled up sleeves, cream shorts and a straw hat. We had to decorate the main entrance, the buffet table and the tables. We started with the entrance and the buffet and the problem was that we didn’t yet know how to manage our time. By the time the guests began to arrive, we had not yet installed the table centre pieces. An idea came to me: immerse the guests in a movie. I stood at the door with my straw hat and I offered a flower to each woman and my brothers were setting up centre pieces as soon as the guests settled at the tables. Our animation created the surprise and guests were happy!”

And a blossoming idea it was indeed. This animated form of art certainly must have sparked interest and genuine enjoyment amongst the guests- as long as the guests are happy, everybody’s happy.

He suits his creations to the individual’s cause and purpose, carefully reflecting on the many propositions he has to offer. Ensuring they are suited to the event whilst promoting an emotive and genuine approach.

Nicolas Barelier
Nicolas entwines the elaborate reality with the fantasy – ultimately to produce something completely authentic and pure

He brings the best service to his clientele. Like all those at the pinnacle of their field, the Barelier’s have their ardent admirers. In May 2004, they created the floral ambiance for the prestigious party held for the Grisogono fine jewellery brand at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes, in addition to the amfAR, high-profile gala dinner hosted by the ever glamorous Sharon Stone, in the presence of the biggest Hollywood stars and the fashion world. A few miles away in Saint-Tropez, in July, they created a new magical extravaganza for the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation gala.

Throughout the years, the designer has worked with thousands of flowers – although he holds true to his favourite, Orchids which he loves to incorporate in his designs. “My favourite flowers are Orchids; it is, after all, also the Roni Floral Design logo. I love all the colours and types of orchids,” he says.

However, what makes his creations so spectacular isn’t just the choice of flower, the colour and the trend – it’s the passion he tailors in each specific project. He explains: “I do not like fashion effects because each wedding is a unique event which must be different from others.” Much to match the authenticity of the couple’s story- Nicolas’ exquisite creations reflect exactly that story. The flaws, the passion, the spark – it’s all reflected in his work. It’s perfectly exquisite.

He has previously engaged with the Bollywood world, as well as Hollywood festivities. He told me: “Yes, we have already done Indian weddings and Bollywood themed private events. These are usually very colourful, rich and ostentatious!” The perfect moment to accommodate his passion into the world of sparkles, joy and love. That’s how vibrant magic is made, after all. It is clear that the talented Nicolas craves to share his gift, immersing it into the client’s fondest memories. It is a wonder but the magic in his work is evident.

 Nicolas Barelier
Nicolas highlights the importance of tailoring his creativity to the client’s needs

The individual Nicolas creates for is very important in his creative process. He tells me: “The Human being is very important in my work. Usually, I’ll be right to capture the sensibilities of each person and establish a first choice of flowers, colours, trends. I need people to trust me; otherwise, I do not feel free in my imagination.” Once again he emphasises the importance of tailoring his creativity to the client’s needs. It is a subject of deep importance to him.

He is the ideal man to rely on if it’s a fairy-tale experience you’re searching for. There is no question as to if it is the right choice. Nothing surpasses the magical experience he creates in his wonderland installations. Speaking of which, the most recent project Nicolas has worked in is the recreation of protagonist Natalie Portmanss ‘The Black Swan’ movie, “all floral arrangements were created with white flowers and feathers; it was incredible!”

Nicolas’ innovative approach to projects and events is a remarkable experience in itself. His imagination breeds the precise message. Love what you create, create what you love. And share with the world. Because, well why not? Fantasy plays a big role in his work. Nicolas entwines the elaborate reality with the fantasy – ultimately to produce something completely authentic and pure. Today they are sought after in France, as well as in England and Italy, by a clientele who discovered them on the French Riviera; the famous RONI siblings celebrate their floral success which they are sharing with the whole of Europe. His philosophy can be found on his website: roni-fleurs.com.