Sunflowers are one of the quintessential summer flowers. Their yellow hue, large face and sturdy stems allow for various manipulations and sunflowers function easily within a bouquet—providing a point of interest, or work on their own to create an interesting, unique look. We helped design a summer event at the historic Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden, the former Abigail Adams Museum, on 61st Street in Manhattan. As the name suggests, the structure is colonial and therefore we drew inspiration from history! The Mount Vernon Hotel operated as a country estate back in the 1820s and 1830s, when New York City didn’t even stretch above 14th Street. It was important for us to preserve this appearance, yet add some modernism to the scene.
Here you can see our vibrant sunflower columns that were over 8 feet tall at the doorway to the hotel. The sunflowers added color and an freshened look to classical columns that were essential to the home’s architecture.
Then we incorporated the sunflowers into the lawn section of the estate by constructing sunflower cubes where haystacks used to stand. This is a contemporary interpretation of a colonial farm design, and we scattered the cubes throughout the lawn for a futeristic presence. In total, over 1000 sunflowers were used.
For the sunflower cube concept, we once again turned to history—only this time we called upon the Impressionists. Monet completed a series of haystacks in 1890-91, which inspired us to create the floral cubes and we used the yellow color palette of his series by working with sunflowers.
VanGogh also used similar colors in his painting of a wheatfield, which he completed in the sweltering heat of summer in 1889. Van Gogh was often fascinated with indigenous plants of the countries he planted, here picturing wheat. Sunflowers are native to North America, thus keeping with our American roots.