Seven top floral designers from around the United States with a connection to mass-market floral took the Happy Hour Center Stage at the International Floriculture Expo in New Orleans to compete for the title of Iron Designer. The contestants were given a limited amount of time and a mystery package of products, along with set instructions and a theme of “New Classic” to create their romantic-gothic-baroque floral design interpretation. A team of judges from the American Institute of Floral Designers determined which contestant created the best arrangement based on the instructions and basic floral design techniques.
Masters of Ceremonies Pieter Landman from Blooming Vision in Amsterdam and Jacob McCall, a freelance floral artist from Lauderdale Lakes, FL, announced the judges’ choices starting with the third place design created by Amy Constanzo, floral buyer for FTD’s mass market and non-member divisions in Downers Grove, IL; and second place going to Paul Ponn from Bella Floral Boutique in St. Cloud, FL, and Mary’s Flowers and Gifts in Florence, SC.
The audience cheered enthusiastically as Ian Prosser from Botanica International Design & Décor Studio in Tampa and Orlando, FL, was announced as the IFE 2014 Iron Designer.
Prosser has over 30 years of experience as an accomplished floral designer and has created works of floral art for Grace Ormonde, Tom Cruise, Kirstie Alley, Queen Elizabeth and he also designed the inaugural decorations for presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
“It was a very exciting contest that I am thrilled I participated in,” Prosser told The Produce News. “It was unnerving, yet exhilarating, to think of and create a design of its scale in just short of 20 minutes.”
After the entertaining competition, holding the crystal prize cup in the shape of a flower, Prosser said his design was meant to “capture the feeling of a romantic, medieval garden.”
“I assessed the flower varieties and containers and I thought to create a topiary style arrangement. The color choice I selected I hoped would continue to convey the romantic look. The cluster of lily grass was chosen to offset the visual weight of the curly willow branches,” said Prosser.
Other competitors in the Iron Designer contest were Paula Aurand from Five Petals Floral in Lee’s Summit, MO; Diane Hedden from Winn Dixie #0596 in Daphne, AL; Laurel Hollopeter, from First Avenue Hy-Vee in Iowa City, IA; and Julie McCann Mulligan, senior vice president of merchandising, product development and photography for 1-800-Flowers.com.