Art & Design

Frida Kim: Floral Pursuits

The London-based Korean florist on English winter gardens, sourcing sustainably and expressing yourself through the medium of flowers

Floral art

@fridakim_london // Instagram

Your work.

I didn’t plan to become a commercial florist, it was something that evolved from my fascination with flowers and the natural world. I grew up in rural Korea, which is beautiful and mountainous, with many indigenous trees and wildflowers. My grandmother had a fruit farm, and I used to love playing barefoot in her garden and collecting the fruit that had fallen from the trees. My love of nature remained throughout my early years and into adulthood, when I became a jeweller in Seoul. Many of the custom pieces I made and designed were inspired by elements of trees and flowers, and nature as a whole. I drew on this entrepreneurial spirit and decided to turn my hand to floristry when I moved to London in 2012. I took some intense classes and started again from scratch.

My workshops are about raising awareness of the creativity we all have inside, finding our own voice and finding ways to centre ourselves. Next up will be a three-day workshop in Lisbon with fellow florist Wagner Kreusch.

Who and what you’re inspired by. 

Nature has been a true inspiration. After moving to the UK, I fell in love with English winter gardens and British flowers. I draw a lot of inspiration from my Asian roots too, whether nature, art, ceramics, fashion or food. Some of the top chefs I admire are real artists: the way they work with colour and texture, and present their dishes, is incredible. There are so many artists that inspire me. If I have to name a few, I would say Frida Kahlo, Noguchi, Matisse and Chagall.

Secrets to the art of arranging.

First of all, it’s important to be grounded; this will allow you to express yourself. Secondly, to understand and be aware of your intention, of what message you want to share through the flowers and the arrangement. Finally, in my experience, creativity and vulnerability go hand in hand. What I mean by that is that you have to show part of yourself.

Smokebush and Amaranthus

@fridakim_london // Instagram

Nasturtium arrangement

@fridakim_london // Instagram

“Flowers are a medium to find and express yourself.”

Frida Kim

Your aesthetic.

Much thought and skill goes into the placement of every stem and bloom, showcasing the innate, imperfect beauty of each element, and creating harmony between them. For this reason, the negative spaces in my designs can be just as important as the flowers themselves, as is the balance of tones and textures. Whether a sculptural installation or a small arrangement, I approach each task with the same intention: to make art that touches people and tells a story. My creations are imbued with soul and meaning, combining Eastern and Western sensibilities to convey a strong visual message using the most delicate fresh and dried materials. 

In my artistic endeavours, my goal is to harmonize my Korean roots and Ikebana, crafting pieces that delicately weave refinement, poetic complexity, and a dedication to seasonality and sustainability. My creations communicate non-verbally, embracing imperfections to reflect life's nuances. Through teaching, I aim to inspire authenticity and bravery in the pursuit of floral art.

Garden flowers

@fridakim_london // Instagram

Table arrangement

@fridakim_london // Instagram

The most exciting installation you’ve worked on.

It is difficult to choose one! Every single work is a one-of-kind creation. If I had to answer, it would be a creation I made in a gallery in Milan last year. It was my first real exhibition. In other words, I had total creative freedom and worked within a beautiful space.

Bringing the countryside to the city.

We have access to local, fresh seasonal British flowers and I am constantly looking for growers nearby. I’ve been working with a wonderful supplier called Nettlewood Flowers for many years and we have formed a great partnership. A small-scale producer growing sustainable cottage-garden flowers with such care and attention, they always work with the seasons as much as possible.

On your wishlist.

As a florist, I wish we could become more sustainable as an industry. We’ve started that journey but there’s still a lot to be done. One way is to incorporate our national surroundings more. I recently attended a workshop in Mexico where we used only local materials.


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