My goal is to push the boundaries of classical floral design.
Caro is our neighbour, she works on her compositions in her studio, and in the summer months she is often in the garden, opposite number 36, surrounded by gigantic and unknown flowers.
She has been part of this adventure for 2 years, with her companion Florian, and participate in embellishing this small community: be it with Flo’s smoke machine, or Caro’s bouquets which decorated this memorable 22nd August birthday. An unavoidable couple therefore, whose new, the fanzine today focuses on Caro Rubbager.
Hello Caro, let’s start at the beginning: You grow up in the back forest, what is it like to grow up in there ?
Actually my origin is not exactly the Black Forest. It is Rottweil, one of the oldest cities in Germany, which is close to the border of the Black Forest. Growing up there was very nice, calm with lots of nature around. I moved away when I was18 but still enjoy coming back home.
How did you get interested in floral design?
If you would have asked me at primary school, times what I want to become when I am grown up, my answer would have been „a florist“. I cut the flowers in my grandma’s garden, when I was a little girl, to make flower bouquets, somehow it was always clear to me.
Where does this passion come from? By the way, is it a passion? How did it all start?
Of course it’s a passion. Working with flowers means getting engaged with nature. This is probably the most fulfilling thing to me. I’m driven by nature’s endless potential of fascinating shapes and colours. You have infinite ways to express yourself using botanics. I am doing that almost every day.
I could also say now that I want to bring more flowers into this world because we really need them right now, or because their beauty is sometimes the only thing we can all agree about. But the true reason is actually very selfish: it is just because it is giving me so much joy and satisfaction.
What was your career path, your beginnings?
I started very young with the traditional three years training in a very old fashioned flower shop close to my home town. It was tough, old school and conservative but there were not many other options to become a florist back then. Thinking back, it cured me for many other things to come. As soon as I got the certificate I moved away to gain experience at other places. I worked in many different cities and even gained some experience abroad. Finally I was ready to complete my master´s degree at Academy of Flowerdesign in Zürich – which changed my way of thinking and path of working completely.
The Academy of Flower Design in Zurich? Internships with artists who made an impression on you?
At Academy of Flower design we learned so much about how art, design and flowers actually work together and how to combine single pieces into a compositional entirety
It is not about a flower bouquet, it is how you can change the whole atmosphere in the room with flowers. Because flowers have that power. Give me the smallest, darkest room and some flowers and I can make it more stunning than any other fabulous bright room there is.
A florist does so much more than putting flowers together. There is a lot of misunderstanding in society about that. And there is no proper description about what we do. I guess it is because there are not many of us.
My goal is to push the boundaries of classical floral design.
As an example:
My work is not what people would imagine when they think of someone working with flowers. It is not playful, fairytale or magnificent. I don’t do flowers for weddings.
It is rather very contemporary, minimalistic and Bauhaus influenced.
There is so much potential, if you start to think about flowers in different contexts, away from that little flower bouquet on the table, but rather as temporary art.
You have been working as a flower artist for more than 10 years now. The best and worst experience you’ve ever had?
I remember preparing a floral press wall for this company. I don’t want to mention, but let’s say one I’m not particularly proud of. We worked for more than 20 hours, just to move some single stems around, even though we could have finished after 5 hours. It still looked the same after 20. It was well paid though.
The best thing is every little moment I step back from a cool new project. It can be the simplest thing like a single flower or a massive just finished installation. Usually that joy comes a few days later. I am super self-critical and most of the time I’m not fully satisfied when it’s finished. But if I look at the pictures, a few days later I’m like: fuck yeah, that’s dope.
What are the projects for which you are most in demand? The ones you develop personally?
Most of the time it is floral installations and botanical set design. Of course due to Covid it was a bit more quiet this year, which is why we did a flower pop up series called Upside. It is a mix between a gallery and flower shop. The floor is covered completely in dried flowers so people need to step on them to get in. VOL. 3 is just starting now. I love to be there and watch the joy that flowers can bring to people.
What are you preparing at the moment?
I’m working on a collaboration with the artist Philipp Haager. I admire his work a lot and when we met at his exhibition in summer we decided to work together. I’m super excited for that.
Any plans for the future? What are your news?
Right now we just extended the studio. The renovations are almost done and I will have a lot more space for new projects in the future.
Could you give us 3 artists that you admire, that inspire you?
Azuma Makoto, Ori Gersht, Jaehyo Lee. But I would like to add also Jorge Ballarin. (To me Jorge Ballarin he is the synonym of creativity.) I’m always fascinated by his thoughtfulness towards inconspicuous things and at the same time how he to contemplates things with so much joy and fascination that we all take for granted. We work together from time to time and I could listen to him talking about flowers forever.
Jorge Ballarin is also working at the Gaswerk. That’s what this place is all about, finding people to inspire us, to collaborate with. I invite you to discover the work of Caro Rugabber, on her instagram account : @carolinruggaber.
A universe of flowers, poetic and luminous. Everything you need at this moment.