Design in Bloom


The diorama of driftwood, antique finds and exotic flora in the window is your first tipoff. Step inside new South End floral studio Bloom Couture, and any remaining inkling that this is simply your average flower shop is quickly corrected. Here, you’re more likely to leave with a vintage vase of long-stemmed kale roses than a fistful of filler flowers. Hanging Japanese moss balls take up an entire wall. Air plants poke out of hollowed cacao shells, and land anemones are arranged in scientific beakers. It’s exactly how one imagines the greenhouse at Hogwarts would look.

And owners Suphoj Chancheaw and Scott Vanich are wizards at whipping up designs that feel deeply personal: They encourage customization, rarely creating the same thing twice, and deliver the results by hand. Friends for more than 20 years, the two art-schooled expats from Thailand attended Columbia College in Chicago, where Chancheaw pursued a master’s degree in architecture and Vanich studied graphic design. Both ended up moving to Boston and worked together at design firms and flower shops throughout the city before scouting locations for a floral studio of their own. When they finally found a space on Tremont Street last summer, Chancheaw knew it was a perfect fit. “In Boston, when you live in a neighborhood, you’re really part of that neighborhood, and you feel welcomed,” he says. “I had lived in the South End for almost 10 years. I like the neighborhood, and people here are really supportive of local businesses.”

Indeed, neighbors, design industry acquaintances and walk-ins alike have been lured in by the duo’s living sculptures. Crafting them, Vanich says, isn’t so different from graphic design. “It’s about the graphics of nature—the prints on leaves, their shapes—and putting them together to make a new form.” For his part, Chancheaw traces his fascination with floral design back to childhood, when he’d create elaborate banana leaf arrangements, a Thai tradition, alongside his grandmother.

Another tie to their roots? The shop’s small selection of soaps handmade in Thailand, which they plan to build on with more bath and body products. On his next trip there at the end of the year, Chancheaw will source herbal compresses, traditionally used in Thai spas to relieve sore muscles—just in time for next winter’s shoveling marathon.

So, half a world away from the banana leaf arrangements of his childhood, what would Grandma say? “My grandmother is no longer alive today,” Chancheaw says, “but she would have been proud that I carried on her tradition of design.”

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