Combining Japanese floral arranging technique with interesting, unexpected touches, freakebana has caught the eye of design lovers and taken Instagram by storm. Freakebana can also be viewed as a creative offshoot of still life photography motifs (such as humorous foodie vignettes, objects used for unintended purposes, strange groupings, and more). The result: wonderfully weird images that surprise, delight and entice. Keep reading to learn more about this growing trend and what it can mean for your interior…

All About Freakebana

Wondering how this art form and trend got its fabulous name?! The term “freakebana” was created by Stella Bugbee, Editor-in-Chief of “The Cut”. A play on “ikebana,” the Japanese art of arranging flowers, freakebana knows no bounds. In other words, everyday items such as leftover food can be incorporated into the mix. It’s about foraging for the perfectly imperfect ingredients, using what you have, and finding ways to shine the spotlight on the mundane. Below, cake takes an arrangement to new heights. [from BURP – pastry chef Erik Vernieuwe and photographer Kris De Smedt]

Below we see a creation by Stella Bugbee for The Cut. Instead of tossing a floral arrangement that’s past its prime, Bugbee selects a sampling of blooms and creates something new. Ginger, poppies and lotuses mingle in a brick-like vase by Stevie Remsberg. Learn more about the process for this shoot here. As you can see, reds and greens combine in a beautiful display of color and whimsy:

The Beautiful

Speaking of beauty, there is an element of freakebana that channels the visually pleasing, with bonus points for creativity. In the next image, a mirror reflects an open lily while the handle contains a specimen that is yet to unfurl. Colorful paper lays the groundwork for a vibrant composition. [photo by Juj Win via]

Whether the end goal is intrigue or abundance (as shown in the freakebana ensemble below from Elle Decor via Space Shack), the time and care put into each creation can be stirring as well as harmonious. What does this mean for your interior? Perhaps you can challenge yourself to create a centerpiece that catches people off guard, using leftover items, such as flowers from a dying bouquet. Objets d’art also work well in freakebana compositions. Comb your collectibles for artifacts and quirky pieces.

The Unexpected

In addition to the beauty that freakebana brings, there is something mysterious and playful at work here. Check out this creation from Bobby Doherty for New York Magazine (via The Cut). Sliced bread serves as a non-traditional receptacle for feather grass and mini palms. Earrings other jewelry items are thrown into the mix. You can see more of Doherty’s work here and here.

Death and decay make an appearance in this next work, also from Bobby Doherty. Yet this arrangement definitely doesn’t take itself too seriously. A flower with brown edges and a cockroach rest in/on a lemon. Droplets of water bring this interesting composition to life. Unexpected? Absolutely:

Fun with Food

We can’t underestimate the important role that food plays in freakebana. Citrus fruit and cake have made a strong appearance in today’s curated images. For another creative element, try painting dying/dried foliage bright colors for a vivid presentation. And don’t forget that there’s magic in how everything comes together. Imperfection can result in beauty. Below we see two freakebana creations from Reproducao via Metropoles:

Sometimes it’s all in the way you group the items! This delicious tropical vignette from Suech and Beck (Chris Sue-Chu and Alyssa Wodabek) proves you can have your cake and eat it too:

The magic of freakebana lies in its “no rules” philosophy. You don’t have to be an expert florist to take a crack at it. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to create something interesting. It’s flower arranging for everyone. The weirder, the better. So what do you think? Are you ready to give freakebana a try? Bonus points for putting it on display in your home. If anything, you’ll create some interesting conversation pieces. Happy arranging!

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