At her Berlin flower company, Mary Lennox, Ruby Barber creates otherworldly arrangements that are more installation art than bouquets. Her cloudlike clusters of textural plants have appeared at the Saut Hermès au Grand Palais and Salone del Mobile; in advertising campaigns for Gucci, Rimowa, and Versace; and above Zoë Kravitz’s recent wedding reception.
“It’s almost rare that I arrange flowers in a vase of water anymore,” says Barber, who was raised in a creative family—her parents own Sarah Cottier Gallery, a contemporary art space in Sydney. “I need to be selective about the flower varieties that can be manipulated. I need to be sensitive to the space and how I can create without having to impact the existing architecture.”
Additionally, her father, Ashley Barber, is a still life photographer and a number of family members are architects. “They have a particularly good eye for color, texture, and form, and I hope that’s something I’ve adopted from them.”
Design process: “I like to keep colors and varieties blocked together. After I’m finished, I look at my arrangements through a camera and make edits. It’s always surprising how different it looks through the lens compared to real life.”
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2020 Spring Issue under the headline Creative Minds. Subscribe to the magazine.