Meet The Creator: Rodney Johnson, McQueens Flowers
28 November 2019 / Meet the Creator /
McQueens might be one of the country’s – if not the world’s – best-known florists, and so we’re very proud that it’s their green-fingered experts that keep The Grove in bloom all year round. However, Christmas is something of a treat for their team; an opportunity to really show what they can do. Thanks to them, our Christmas decorations are consistently mesmerising, and this year should be no different. We spoke to McQueens’ Customer Relationship Manager, Rodney Johnson, to find out what he has in store for us this year.
When and how did you start working with The Grove?
I began working with The Grove around five years ago. Having worked across many of London’s most prestigious hotels I was delighted, as it was always an ambition to create floral displays for this beautiful venue.
How would you describe McQueens’ style generally, and how does that play into your Christmas decorations?
McQueens started out as a home for simple, stylish flowers. Almost 30 years later it has evolved into one of the world’s most recognisable flower brands, revered for its quality and creativity. Christmas is a big season for the company, so big in fact we start planning in January. We work with each client to develop their festive decor which will obviously vary from location to location. We are always dedicated to making a big impact with the finest seasonal flora and fauna coupled with jaw-dropping decorations.
Do you, Rodney, have a specialty?
I love to include botanicals within my designs. The Grove is always open to new ideas so together we’ve created some really dynamic installations, such as the upside-down suspended cactus. I also really enjoy experimenting with new floral concepts while keeping the history of the space and interior decor in mind.
What do you enjoy about creating Christmas decorations/themes?
I’ve always been a huge Christmas fan so it’s very exciting that this forms a big part of my role at McQueens. I love the scale of the season, and transforming large spaces creates such a big impact. Working with clients to create new concepts is very rewarding. We’re storytellers and love to interpret themes that are important to our establishments. Christmas naturally brings with it lots of aromatic, natural, earthy materials which instantly helps to create a festive atmosphere.
What is the inspiration for the Christmas decorations at The Grove this year?
We’re embracing the beauty of tradition with a theme that complements the centuries-old architecture. There will be nostalgic emblems like nutcrackers and of course lots of fir trees which are actually grown and sourced very close to the hotel. Emilia, The Grove’s Executive Housekeeper, handpicked 20 Christmas trees which will feature throughout the venue. Look out for the focal centrepiece in the lobby, and the giant four-metre-tall king nutcracker.
Where do you find your inspiration?
We look to lots of different sources for inspiration. Often the client will have an initial idea, or we’ll tap into a theme or story which resonates with the space and the occasion. I work with lots of creative minds at McQueens so we often bounce ideas off one another.
What sort of decorations suit The Grove?
The hotel has some incredible open spaces which lend themselves to both contemporary and traditional design really well. As I mentioned, The Grove is very collaborative and welcomes creative concepts, so there’s always lots of photo-worthy displays.
Any tips for making homemade decorations?
Particularly at Christmas, the foraged look is very effective en masse – lots of fir cones in glass bowls for example. We like to embrace seasonal florals: amaryllis are so striking, it only takes one or two to make a statement, while white anemones dotted among your candles create a beautifully elegant atmosphere.
Be sure to see our Christmas decorations in person! Plan your visit over the festive season.