Master botanical sculptor Azuma Makoto started out as a musician in Tokyo. After working in a flower market and eventually opening his own shop, he became known for his bold and beautiful arrangements. He channels his inner punk-rock performer into his sculptures, which don’t follow conventions.
He takes great pride in the materials used in his creations, and he often pushes the envelope by dropping live plants into space, lighting them on fire, and dragging them underwater. These extreme actions are all part of his goal of highlighting the resilience of the plants, which are constantly threatened by natural disasters such as fires and floods.
His passion for flowers and his singular approach to creating arrangements make him one of the most interesting individuals working in the industry today. One of his shops, Jardins des Fleurs, is known as a flower butchery in Tokyo. Its staff members are white-coated individuals who carefully remove and arrange living flowers from a fridge inside the store to cut and arrange them on steel tables.
His past projects include creating frozen blocks of flowers for designer Dries Van Noten. He also experimented with shooting a tree into space.
Mexx at Sfer Ik Museion
Located in the town of Francisco May, Sfer Ik is an art complex that was designed by architect David Roth. It features a museum, a restaurant, and an al fresco dining area called Jungle Cuisine. Throughout the complex, visitors can also participate in various workshops that are focused on various subjects, such as ceramics, fashion, and furniture.
Through his connections in the art world, Azuma Makoto came into contact with the museum and was invited to create an exhibit. Due to the unique design of Sfer Ik, which features a living ecosystem, and his desire to create something that would last for months, Makoto decided to create a massive live sculpture known as Mexx. The eight-meter tall structure aims to blend in with the surrounding area.
Due to the nature of his work, which is focused on the use of sustainable materials, he sees his new projects as a vital part of his career. He also believes that the public’s increasing awareness about sustainability will benefit from his work.
The design of the sculpture is a departure from his previous works, as it features indigenous plants such as cacti, pothos, and bromeliads. He originally wanted to create something that was more colorful. After spending some time in Mexico, he decided to change his plans and focus more on the final composition.