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Natural Beauty

Through Hanaya Floral, Hiroko Takeshita brings a garden-inspired aesthetic to floral design.

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Photo: Greg Premru

Before opening her Huron Village shop, Hanaya Floral Design, Hiroko Takeshita studied engineering technology and worked in computer graphics at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. “I wanted to somehow combine computers and flowers,” she says. In 2005, she got her chance to take the plunge into full-time design. Takeshita’s husband, who worked for Garden Design magazine, produced the publication’s booth for the Chicago Flower and Garden Show and tapped Takeshita to design the flowers. “That was when I realized, ‘Wow, I really love flowers. Maybe I should pursue it,’” she says. “I forgot that this was my passion.”    

Takeshita describes her work as minimalist, with a fusion of Japanese, French, and Western influences, and with good reason: She was born in Kyoto, Japan, taught and practiced in Osaka, and studied with a Japanese instructor in Paris before coming to the United States 13 years ago. “I try to do something a little bit different … and break the rules a little bit, rather than just create a pretty arrangement,” she says.

Her work is often inspired by the European gardens she has explored with her husband, now a landscape architect. Takeshita says her work contrasts the structured, sharp edges of the gardens with soft lines, like the cylindrical shape of a calla lily. For a recent job for the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts, she gently twisted calla lilies and orchids, submerging them in water.

Takeshita’s list of clients include chef Barbara Lynch’s fine-dining outpost Menton, law firm Nutter, McClennen, and & Fish, the French Cultural Center of Boston, and the New England Conservatory of Music.

Takeshita’s most recent work for the conservatory’s annual fund-raising gala was inspired by the event’s English garden theme. “She has an incredible gift for color and texture in floral arrangements,” says Janet Goff, the conservatory’s director of special events. “She was able to harmonize the flowers with the rest of the decor—tablecloths, vases, the theme, and the early spring color palette—so that guests felt they were in a bower.” To create a leafy garden shelter look, Takeshita researched the flowers indigenous to the British Isles and incorporated them into her design, according to Goff, pulling in pink roses, heather stalks, and thistles. Says Goff, “It was both visually and intellectually dynamic.”