A Single Rose Petal Floating in a Glass of Water Can Change the Whole Room

Text/ Interview: Sara Umbreit, Photos: Florencia Lucila

Carolina Spencer worked as a florist for many years before eventually designing and making her own ceramic flowerpots. They are currently produced in a small studio of regional Catalonia.

Carolina: I was born in Costa Rica but lived all my life in Chile. In 2004 I moved to Barcelona. I’m not at all a trained ceramicist...I design the pots and work together with a ceramic artist in Girona who produces them for me. He’s the best! I studied design and worked for eight years as a florist at the Ritz Carlton in Barcelona where I learned from one of the best florists in Barcelona or even Europe. She taught me everything about plants and flowers, and the importance of determining how and where they must be placed within a room. This is how I got the idea to create simple and functional pots. At the moment I sell these under my label Matagalán and am also working with other companies in design. I’m also still a florist for Casa Bonay, a beautiful hotel in Barcelona. You should go and see it! I never thought natural decoration could surprise me in such a way again.

Sara: What is it like working with plants?

Carolina: When I started in 2008 my life completely changed. Gone were the days of computer work, instead days filled with a creativity that I had never experienced. Working with plants and flowers brought me closer to nature and to discover species that surround us everyday, even in the city. It has awoken my sensitivity and I love working with a living material.

Sara: So where are you producing the flowerpots and do you have a team?

Carolina: All pots that I design are handmade by Quim, an artist who lives in the area of La Bisbal d’Emporda. This is a small village in Catalonia, known especially for its pottery. We work together really well and he’s the only one that can bring my ideas to reality.

Sara: Do you have a favourite plant?

Carolina: It’s difficult to say what my favourite plant is, there are so many nice ones out there! Generally I like plants with strange colours or shape. That’s why I also prefer working with grasses, succulents and water plants. I love the colours that succulent plants come in, for example the Attenuata Agave, Myrtillocactus Geometrizans, or the Aloe Ferox - a mixture of green and gray. In Spain we call it ‘Glauco’. The Epiphyllum Pumilum is hanging cactus that I also love. With grasses I love their form and the way they move in the wind.

Sara: Which plants are best suited for your line of pots?

Carolina: All types. All you have to do is look at what size and design best suits the particular plant.

Sara: How do you feel about all these plant and jungle trends as of late?

Carolina: I think it’s wonderful we’re bringing greenery back into our daily lives! The changes in recent years have been enormous. When I entered the world of plants and flowers it was very much associated with an elitist type of decoration. Now there is finally a floral culture in Spain which makes those of us in the industry very happy.

Sara: Can integrating plants really change a room?

Carolina: Absolutely, plants always have this effect. They provide us harmony and wellbeing. It’s great to watch them grow and prosper as well. My mentor Donna Stain used to say “A single rose petal floating in a glass of water can change the whole room.” I can only agree. Less is more.

Sara: What’s it like in the horticulture industry?

Carolina: In Spain, the floristry world was until a few years ago, very small. There were of course florists, but all had a very traditional style. I have worked with Donna Stain who taught me everything I know today. She had a very fresh and modern approach. There were some of us who have worked for her and we all have our own projects now so we can help and learn from each other. Flore Studio and Estudio Sauvage are also a few more. I have met many other florists and landscapers and had a nice impression.