Thai Thomas Mai Van
Maivan Flowers



Ikebana: Japanese flower arranging art dating back to the 15th century. Art form that reinterprets the beauties of nature with an elegant aesthetic understanding.

the art of flower arranging

Basically, we must have love and respect for nature as well as a strong passion for flowers. Since plants and flowers are at the heart of ikebana design, which express the rhythms of nature and life, a vast knowledge of distinguishing feature of flowers and plants is one of its critical components. When I arrange ikebana, it is a great way for me to discover more the laws of nature, the value and the beauty of life through the flowers world.

As in many kinds of art form, harmony is very important as it is the effective use of elements in the design such as, the unity of flower materials of the same climates or the seasons, details should be taken into account regarding textures, colors, containers, in particular, the harmony between the space and the design. For example, the styles of ikebana should be carefully selected in accordance with the place where they will be displayed either traditional or contemporary living space.

right combination of nature and art

As far as I have known, ikebana also has an origin and develops from the profound love for nature of Japanese people. Ikebana arranging is not only technique but also philosophy let’s say when arranging flowers or plants, we are not simply attracted by the superficial beauty of flowers like shapes, lines, colors but we should be able to observe their inner essence and express their natural forms in the arrangement. As ikebana can never be separated from nature, all details should be taken into accounts such as asymmetrical structure and balance according to Yin and Yang philosophy, the empty space between branches and flowers so that we may enjoy the beauty of flowers in details. In some traditional ikebana styles, the choice of flowers of the same climate and season are also important.

As ikebana can never be separated from nature, all details should be taken into accounts such as asymmetrical structure and balance according to Yin and Yang philosophy, the empty space between branches and flowers so that we may enjoy the beauty of flowers in details.

the inclusion of nature in design

Ikebana has taken an important position in studying the laws of nature. Therefore, when I discovered ikebana 13 years ago, I immediately fell in love with it. In the beginning, I have studied and practiced it just for my passion but then I have decided to teach ikebana as my career. I have realized that by teaching ikebana I have more chance getting close to nature daily. Flowers make me happy, they inspire me to create the beauty and teach me the value of life. Any time that I arrange ikebana, the conversation between flowers and me begins, I take time to enjoy their precious beauty, I can feel their inner essence and imagine how they are in their living environment so that I can bring out their pure beauty in my floral designs. It is always a great moment for me to get close with the nature through ikebana, for example by looking at a bending branch I could see its life history, it bends as a result of searching for sunlight with the passage of time or when arranging Lotus or water Lily, the image of a pond at the green fields appearing in my mind. The beautiful surface of flowers or leaves suggest the sunlight, the movement of branches suggest the wind.

Especially when arranging Rikka style of Ikenobo ikebana, trees and plants symbolize the mountain, flowers and grasses suggest water. It can be said that, the magnificent landscape of mountain, waterfall, hills, river and sea were created in the vase.

holistic approach

As a floral designer, I am expected to give good advice to my customers so that the arrangements would be integrated harmoniously with the environment. This implies that I take into consideration the tastes of my clients, their personality, and the theme of the event. Of course, the natural environment and the architecture of the places are major elements. My compositions will be significantly different depending on whether they are displayed in a modern building, in a Zen SPA dominated by wood and stones, or in a castle. I also pay attention to the atmosphere of the venue, its history, especially the sources of light. For this reason, I always take time to visit the places before each event, to better immerse myself in their architectural particularity, or the natural peculiarities of the landscape.

At the beautiful Solvay Library in Brussels, being aware of the warm atmosphere of books and woodwork I have created bright and light floral compositions of great purity. This corresponded to the demand of the pharmaceutical industry, who organized an international conference, in partnership with major European press groups or organizations. At the prestigious castle of Vascoeuil in Normandy, I took into account the ancestral history of the place to present a retrospective of the evolution of Ikebana art from the 15th century to the present day. This castle hosts the great piece of work of the greatest contemporary artists like Dali, Cocteau, and Braque. So, I make sure that my compositions must be perfectly harmonious with these masterpieces.

Beyond the wish of my clients, taking into consideration the natural and architectural environment is, therefore, one of the bases of my work as a designer. This involves questioning my work for each new project, and always pushing my creativity to extremes.

In February 2018, I had the honor of being invited to participate in international floral design competition at Dubai International Flower Festival, with a view to organizing the World Expo 2020. The theme is to show your floral vision of Dubai. I realized several compositions showing the natural elements that contributed to the wealth of this city (the oil, but also the arm of the sea that sinks in the desert, which contributed for making the area fertile). My designs were also inspired by the modern architecture of the city. I sought to symbolize some of Dubai’s mythical skyscrapers.