From Hanoi to Dalat and Saigon, Flowers burst into full bloom in Vietnam for this Christmas month, so for Bliss an interview with Qa Pham founder of Padma de fleurs was evident.
Originally from Vietnam, QA Pham has always been at the forefront of creativity. Influenced by the many elements of Art and Design she met in Europe and the States; she creates today back in Vietnam original and exquisite floral arrangements for a variety of events. Her avant-garde artistic vision, incomparable beauty and relentless attention to detail have established her as the ‘Haute Couture’ of floral creation in Saigon.
Padma de Fleur is a floral atelier but not only as QA created there a place with a unique concept part flower shop and part restaurant where you can also enjoy dishes inspired by traditional Vietnamese cooking revisited with a floral twist. There each meticulously detailed arrangement by the Atelier creates a rich elegance and strength demonstrating, a deep love for flowers and their artistic expression; Qa Pham elevated blossoms beautifully, and it’s what we like at Bliss Magazine.
Bliss: QA, What drew you to the world of flowers and their artistic expression?
I came to learn how to do a French bouquet by chance. When I was living in Paris, my classmate, a Japanese florist provided to a group of friends a floral workshop. What fascinated me first was that with the very same materials used, each of our bouquets looked entirely different from one to another. It seemed like if the bouquet portraited who we were behind the surface. Then back to Saigon, almost every weekend I enjoyed doing some flowers bouquets and sent them to friends as a surprise gift. A few years later, I realized two things: making flowers arrangement was like a form of meditation. It took away my stress, worries, and healed depression. The second thing was that each of my friends was always happy when she received flowers, especially if it was the type flower with the colors they preferred. The secret language of flowers, the infinite variety of colors and vibrant forms drew me.
Bliss: At what point did you fall in love with your job as a florist and designer?
The more I work with flowers, the more I am in love with my job. Flower is just a way to express an emotion. Through it and thanks to it, I have had an opportunity to listen to a lot of stories, happy ones, sad ones, inspiring ones, etc. All of them involves love and care for people around us.
Bliss: Tell us about your creative influences and inspiration – from where do you find them?
My artistic influences are all over the place, yet the main one is Europe I suppose. France or England have their own style while Northern European has their distinctive taste. I pick up what speaks to me, combining inspiration, what is available locally around me and the surrounding nature. I can spend hours watching wild weed, wildflowers, drifting clouds or get so hallucinated with a fish tank, with an unexpected colors combination of fishes and the underwater plants.
Bliss: Your latest location is in Le Thi Hong Gam/Nguyen Thai Binh, District 1 of Saigon, where we’ve been noticing more and more cool things popping up. What about this area made you decide to open your new store there?
The original charm of this area grasps me, maybe because I am an old soul. First of all, I love the Fine Art Museum building; I have a long history with the antic street. Secondly, I love these old houses disappearing, unfortunately, more and more; the ‘seem non-relevant’ products sold around here, the contrast of the busy streets during the day and the quiet moments in the evening. This area carries a long history and is sitting humbly close to the bright Central Saigon.
Bliss: In fashion, we see a lot of “rule-breaking” trends with unexpected mixed prints and floral pairings. Do you see similarities happening in floral trends now?
Yes, as the floral trend is part of the fashion and interior world. Lately, flowers arrangement became more free and flowing, and you could see stunning bouquet made with homegrown flowers becoming more popular.
Bliss: What impacts do living with flowers have in our life? Why is surrounding ourselves with flowers so important?
It is important because flower uplifts our mood brightens our environment, puts a smile on our face and enhances our appetite.
Bliss: What are your favorite flowers and what draws you to those particular blossoms?
Does it look strange to you if I say I like every flower? One of my favorite at this point is the Lotus. I like everything about it. The looks, the petals, the fragrance, the dirty environment they grow in, the fact that every single part of Lotus flower is useful for human medication: the root, stem, leaf, petals, pod seed and center of pod seed.
Bliss: Can you give us some tips for brides? What floral trends you predict will be in style for all weddings next year?
I beleive the new flower power is: green, local and wild. Locally grown, seasonal, wild and foraged flowers pile together in an altogether way will grace every savy, eco-chic couple’s wedding this year coming.
Hanging flowers and plants at weddings will also be the hot wedding trend. Hanging Floral Centrepieces add instant drama, make a massive impact visually and really add the wow factor to the reception.
When it comes to crafting a perfect bouquet, what are the top three rules we should never forget?
You should always ask for foliage in the bouquet. That help flowers to pop out. Then it shouldn’t be any hole around the bouquet. Finally, all stems should be twisted in the one same direction.
Bliss: What do you predict is the future of flowers in Vietnam and how people will live with them?
In general, Vietnamese people live with the flowers from altar offering to gift and decoration. So, the future of flowers in Vietnam will keep growing. Growers are trying to tame and develop foreigner breeds. They also try to develop more unusual or non-typical colors. There are more and more people who appreciate wildflowers, and who are open to the new idea that chrysanthemum for exemple is not just for altering offering but can also be part of a fantastic every day bouquet.
Padma de fleur: 55/6 Lê Thị Hồng Gấm, Nguyễn Thái Bình, Dist 1 – HCMC