Name: Manuela Sosa
Profession: botanical stylist & floral designer, designer, art director, curator
Country: Spain (Barcelona)
If you’re in Spain and you’re about to get married, GANGANDTHEWOOL is the one to turn your wedding into a celebration of senses. Also if you are interested in flowers, you can attend one of their workshops at the wonderful GreenHouse, which was featured in Vogue Spain as the most beautiful place in the country. All you have to do is to get in touch, and Manuela, the talented founding director of the “flower paradise”, will present you with a magical vision of the world.
Here’s the story:
TheShortcutsBubble: Working with flowers in Barcelona.. what can be more beautiful than this?! How did you get to do floral design? Have you always known you are going to do this?
Manuela: Nothing is more beautiful than this! I am truly happy to devote myself to what I love and that every day fills me and makes me wake up with enthusiasm and desire-to-follow. No, I did not know that my career would end in this sector. I began my wanderings in Uruguay, studying Fine Arts and Architecture at the same time. One day I decided to come to Barcelona, where my career path started with Industrial Design study, then a master in Exhibition Design and another in Art Direction. Then some hard working in lighting followed and my last job before diving into GANGANDTHEWOOL, was in the Department of Design and Exhibitions Production at CCCB, with an exquisite group of people. Although I’ve always had this curiosity in many creative fields, I am an artisan at heart and I like to define myself as such. From there everything started ….
TheShortcutsBubble: A lot of study and experience in so many different fields…
Manuela: When it comes down to life, everything can be achieved with effort, sacrifice and a lot of dedication.
TheShortcutsBubble: Barcelona is a lively and colourful city.. is this a boost of inspiration? What do you like the most about living in Barcelona?
Manuela: I love living in Barcelona, it is a rich city, rich in culture,
diversity and creativity. There are so many amazing people eager to do things and that inspires me. But I also like to keep a distance from my mountain …
TheShortcutsBubble: GANGANDTHEWOOL is a very interesting name, how did you pick it and in what way is it related to flowers?
Manuela: GANGANDTHEWOOL was initially born as a design project. The moment I started working with flowers, I thought I should include the word “FLOWERS” in the name, so it should have been something like GANGANDTHEFLOWERS 😉 However, I’ve always found interesting a name to include more than flowers… but now this is the fundamental material in our work.
TheShortcutsBubble: What is your signature, how do we recognise GANGANDTHEWOOL in a room full of flowers?
Manuela: I like to think that my signature is one that results from combining beautiful and perfect fresh flowers (directly imported from the world’s largest market, Alsmeer – Netherlands) with local Mediterranean materials (directly collected by me), to make improvised bucolic bouquets. I strive to give my bouquets that spontaneous character residing in the original gesture of picking flowers and to forget the rigidity of the structures necessary for technical reasons. Such compositions I like and fascinate me. So that’s how I’d like to distinguish myself.
TheShortcutsBubble: I’ve noticed that you work a lot with brides, what is the best part about it?
Manuela: I love working for brides, brides who value our essence and who are fond of our style. We like them to know our way of working and fully trust the result that we offer. This is how we get the best results. Last year, for instance, we travelled to Formentera by a van full of flowers and also collected material from the area, which brought so much authenticity to the result.
TheShortcutsBubble: What other services do you offer and which do you enjoy the most?
Manuela: I love writing poetry and evoke emotions with flowers and with a minimum of authentic materials. We work for weddings and events, we also offer workshops for celebrations in our greenhouse, decorate hotels, bars and shops in Barcelona. We are also open to create any project that comes our way, sets for movies, photo shoots, all that is feasible to be decorated with flowers.
TheShortcutsBubble: What was the best collaboration you’ve ever had so far or the best project you’ve ever worked on?
Manuela: Right now, we are preparing for a great adventure starting this March. We will provide flowers for the Monument Hotel, a five star hotel located in the emblematic Paseo de Gracia. By the magnitude of the project, the effort and the dedication put into it, I think it represents the largest project I’ve worked on so far.
TheShortcutsBubble: What flowers do you love the most to work with?
Manuela: I love all flowers.. think they are a celebration of beauty. Obviously I do not look at them one by one, in detail, all the time… but even when I put them in a vase to decorate my house, I find it rewarding. The arrangement, the combination and the result look so alive… sometimes all you need are a few herbs and two or three imperfect flowers to create poetry with…
TheShortcutsBubble: Is there some plant or flower you never use in your designs?
Manuela: No, there are no flowers or plants that I do not use. I think they all will look perfect within a composition and when choosing a specific container. I like twigs, dead leaves, peonies, I like each and every one of them.
TheShortcutsBubble: Is it enough to have a creative eye in order to make a good florist or does it require thorough qualifications?
Manuela: Flowers, you have to feel them…. otherwise the result will be perfect, but lifeless. It is very important to observe the flowers and combine them so as to transmit emotions: the passion and sensitivity behind a piece. I am not a fan of excessive consumption and medals. I am passionate about my job and that is what I wish to convey. I like consistency in things. Having a creative eye is essential, but it is essential in all fields today… Therefore, what I value the most when selecting my assistants is rather their sensibility. I am quite radical and work many hours. It is hard work, with all types of weather and there is a lot of pressure… but in this profession the perfect result is only achieved through effort, dedication and hard work.
TheShortcutsBubble: Is it difficult to keep the balance between being creative and doing business?
Manuela: No, I don’t think it’s difficult… just that I’m not good with
negociating (jijiji!)… But I think everything is in knowing that everything has a price. The flowers are expensive and this happens because a lot of energy is used to produce more and more flowers everywhere in the world, every time of year. It’s the same with flowers like with tomatoes for example: it is unthinkable to have the same price in January as in June. At times they come from Chile, so we can enjoy them.
The world of flowers, is a very complex world involving the work of many people. It is a complex business and a daily struggle, in which the overall result is magical, but not easy and sometimes harmful. I’m too aware of these things and it is very important to educate to build a real world and not to take pride in using more flowers.
TheShortcutsBubble: If you weren’t to work with flowers, what else do you picture yourself doing?
Manuela: I love flowers, it is my passion and I’ll always be linked to them in a way. I’m interested in a lot more research on cultivating organic flowers for example… and although is not yet feasible, I like to play with the idea. Right now I’m also working on some garden design projects and I find it exciting to prospect the compositions and the mixtures of colors that can be achieved. It is an endless world that I want to be part of FOREVER.
TheShortcutsBubble: What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a flower business?
Manuela: Be prepared to work. It is the kind of work that requires great dedication and many hours, but it also bring much satisfaction.
TheShortcutsBubble: What’s in plan for 2016?
Manuela: 2016 will be a year full of new projects, I’m truly happy and feel very fortunate to do what I love.
TheShortcutsBubble: And your favourite scent is ….
Manuela: Mmmmm, I have many favourite scents… the smell of tuberose, jasmine, the scent of honey given off by almond trees …. scented roses, hyacinths …. I could go on forever… nothing seems more exciting than the deep smell of flowers.
Thank you, Manuela, for sharing the lovely insights of your beautiful, scented world…
Article by: Andreea R.