While others see Midnight Floral Foam as innovative floral mechanic, Donald Yim AIFD, PFCI sees it as intriguing art material. Child’s play. Having fun with flowers.
“Everyone knows how to use floral foam – put your everyday flowers in to cover the foam. That’s it, right?” asks Donald, the newest member of Smithers-Oasis team of design directors.
“What if you took the time – not just to look, but to feel, play and experience the products in a new way?” he suggests.
Donald often has the opportunity to experience new products.
He recommends that you pause for a moment to allow the materials to inspire you.
Explore a different perspective
“Take a look at the products you’re working with,” continues Donald. “How can you see them from a different perspective?”
Donald experimented with different shapes of Midnight Floral Foam and shared with us some innovative ideas he’s been playing with.
You can see the deep influence of both eastern and western cultures in Donald’s work.
Stack foam shapes
Donald’s inspiration for design comes from his love of architecture. The stacked foam designs look like futuristic buildings.
How does Donald create his foam shapes and patterns?
He cuts the foam into a variety of geometric forms: circles, squares, rectangles, triangles, etc.
In this series of designs Donald uses a stacking technique – vertically placing materials of a like size and shape directly atop one another with no space between components.
“I want the tray to look like food. To look like something that looks yummy enough to eat!” Of course, it is not really edible. Only our eyes can devour it.
Securing the foam
Depending on the size of the foam pieces, a small wooden Cowee pick, a toothpick or a bamboo skewer can be used to secure the foam pieces into a container.
For added security, the base piece of foam can be dipped into hot glue before placing it in the container.
What other quick tips can you use?
Trash for cash
Save money by using leftover pieces of Midnight foam to cut thin strips or other interesting shapes for your designs. Rather than throwing the odds and ends away, repurpose your ‘trash’ into ‘cash’ while you play.
Create a textural effect, by crumbling excess cut pieces and ends of black floral foam to represent soil or fill in spaces around a piece of foam.
Cut foam into strips
For this design, Donald cuts the foam into strips, adds small Cowee picks and inserts them vertically in small foam-filled bowls to create an upright water source for his flowers.
Donald saves money by using minimal flowers to create an ethereal look. The bright blooms pop against the receding color of the black Midnight foam allowing each bloom to make a bold statement of its own.
Color-block to direct focus
Donald often uses color-blocking – a massed quantity of color used to create a dramatic effect or direct focus, in his designs.
Yellow is a bright, happy “look at me” color that really pops against this black foam.
Donald used these design steps to make the two horizontal designs
- Cut the foam in 4×4 one-half-inch thick square pieces.
- Randomly stack one foam piece atop another.
- Cut the foam at the center from top to bottom creating two stacks of triangles.
- Insert a long wooden pick into the stack of triangles.
- Place the stack of triangles on top of your container.
The two designs can be positioned together as one or used separately. The possibilities are endless once you start to play with the materials.
Create unique forms
Donald uses the new Midnight Designer Block to create this unique design.
“At first I dip the floral foam into hot pan glue and cover the bottom part. Then, I use floral adhesive to glue the flat cane onto the sealed bottom part,” explains Donald. “Otherwise the glue won’t hold the cane onto the foam.”
Donald carves out a semi-circle in the top of the foam to make a visual cradle for water tubes. He inserts the water-filled tubes into the foam to hold the fresh flowers.
While the Midnight foam itself could be a water-source for the flowers, Donald is instead using the foam as a textural base for his water tube design.
How does Donald think of these designs?
The curious eyes of a child
“What if you change your viewpoint and use the ‘curious eyes of a child’ to see each individual product differently?” Donald says, sharing his personal design goal.
He follows his heart and believes that, “One can never use up their creativity. The more you use it, the more you have.”
To further share his passion, Donald created a YouTube channel, where he shares his floral journey, industry knowledge, and design ideas with his followers.
“If you see design through the curious eyes of a child each day, your work can become so much more fun. “Don’t you agree?” asks Donald.
What do you think of Donald’s innovative black foam designs?
As you ‘play’ with the new shapes of Midnight Floral Foam, please share your comments and photos of your designs in the comment section below.
You can also offer your congratulations to Smithers-Oasis’ newest Design Director – Donald Yim AIFD, PFCI in the comments below.