PAINTING WITH FLOWERS – the story

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Wolfgang Design, founded in New York in 1994 by Beaux-Arts graduate Wolfgang Thom, specializes in the planning, designing, composition, and staging of local and international floral events. Whether it’s a simple bridal bouquet or the decor for a black tie gathering of 500, whether it’s stylistically bold or subtle, whimsical or futuristic, each of Thom’s unique, customized, and site-specific creations stems from his broad, sophisticated aesthetic.

The child of an accomplished gardener, Thom acquired his intuitive understanding of botanicals and organics early on through osmosis. Thanks to his fine arts training, acute understanding of architecture, and eye for detail, everything he produces, from a classic container of freshly cut wildflowers to a lavishly staged banquet, is a poetical balance of color, texture, line, form, proportion, rhythm, contrast, and harmony.

Fluent in English, French, and German, with a working knowledge of Italian and Spanish, his vast travel experience and accomplished management skills give Thom the confidence and flexibility to work abroad and employ local crews to entirely orchestrate an event, from its furniture rental, linens, props and lighting to its exquisite floral decor. Photographers, fashion and interior designers regularly commission Thom to be on set for editorial and advertising photography where he may be called upon to ‘embroider’ a bustier with hundreds of miniature daisies, resolve a close up shot of a bedroom with a single lilac stem, convert a Victorian marble fountain into a lush Amazonian swamp, or festoon a Christmas tree with a host of flaming, red amaryllis.

“Every flower has its own character. It’s eloquent in its own way and its unique growth line makes it alive and ephemeral,” says Thom. “I harness that life force and make it the client’s mouthpiece. Then it serves their needs, reflects their personality, and tells their story in a direct, uncomplicated way.  Of course, I make sure it has the perfect scale and it’s appropriate to the season, place and budget.” Whether he fills a vase with two dozen tulips, florally depicts a fairy tale for a bride and groom, or artfully spells out a giant, corporate logo in leaves and carnations, his expressive work radiates spirit and soul or, in the words of one magazine editor, “it combines a European ‘je ne sais quoi’ with an American inventiveness.”

One of Thom’s favorite consulting jobs is his most widely seen. It involved him modernizing the floral arrangements for the public spaces in each of the properties and resorts in the W hotel empire. The template he established allowed a worldwide network of florists to source and duplicate his specific menu of minimalist concoctions. He also consulted on the establishment of two illustrious retail florists in Manhattan and the Hamptons.

Thom is hands-on and personally involved in each stage of every commission he accepts, no matter its size, and he’s still stimulated by his initial meeting with the client.  “Even after all this time,” he says, “once we’ve scouted the location, uncovered the perfect solution, and we’re in the midst of bringing it alive with an assortment of fragrances, textures, shapes and colors, it’s always a magical experience.”