His must-see 'flower flashes' bring color and whimsy to urban spaces.



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Lewis Miller is one of the most sought-after floral designers in the country.

His work is more than bouquets in corner shops or farmers markets; they’re lavish works of living art for major events, like fashion shows, galas, and other larger-than-life spectacles.

It’s when the champagne runs dry and the elite head for the doors, however, that Miller’s creativity really shines.

Miller doesn’t just toss the flowers in the trash. He gives many of them a sustainable, loving second life. Using public spaces as a canvas, Miller and his team use leftover flowers to add pops of color all over New York City.

Lewis Miller Design gave this cat sculpture outside the Crosby Street Hotel a mohawk makeover. All photos via Lewis Miller Design, used with permission.

His vision of covering the city in flowers began in October 2016 after decorating the John Lennon Memorial in the Strawberry Fields area of Central Park. He and his team assembled before dawn to arrange fresh blooms around the memorial as a way to share the beauty and magic of his flowers with the people of New York City.

Miller described the inaugural effort on his blog:

“So at 5:45 AM, my team and I filled the LMD van with 2,000 flowers and descended on the John Lennon Memorial in Central Park, a circular mosaic resembling a mandala with one word in the center: IMAGINE.”

As the sun came up, Miller feared their efforts would be swept away by the parks department, but thankfully, he wrote, “…[they] gave us their approval and blessing with a quick thumbs up.”

Before long, people were taking selfies and photos of the lush design and sharing them on social media.

A phenomenon was born.

Since then, Miller and his team have continued their effort to spread wonder and delight to the people of New York with their “flower flashes.”

Using public trash cans as vases, Miller and his team make giant bouquets to perk up New York City street corners.

The flowers and stems burst from the grimy, steel gray wastebins, giving unassuming corners (and last night’s bouquets) a fitting encore.

“It’s nice to give our clients’ flowers a groovy second life,” he told Domino.

For the element of surprise, the team installs the delicate bouquets very early in the morning.

Of course, it helps that there’s a crew up even earlier than Miller’s team.

“We are very thankful,” Irini Arakas Greenbaum, Miller’s director of special projects says, of the city sanitation department and garbage collectors who “are up even earlier than us and empty the cans before we get to our destination.”

Miller adorns public art and sculptures too.

And even does a little blooming typography.

No space is too small or too large for a bloom or two … thousand.

Due to the impermanent nature of flowers, weather, and human nature, each flower flash lasts less than a few days.

“When we flash a sculpture, the flowers tend to last longer, sometimes even three or four days,” Miller told Domino. “With the trash cans, people feel more inclined to take them. It’s usually the early morning dog walkers that have the stickiest fingers and take the flowers home with them.”

The temporary nature only makes these living works of art even more delightful. They are rare, vibrant, and, thanks to the element of surprise, almost magical. For locals and tourists alike, they are a gift that keeps on giving.

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