Azuma Makoto constructs elaborate bouquets by hand in his "In Bloom" project, which is now in it's second iteration. His latest work is not officially part of the series, but is one of a handful of botanical projects he's worked on that display plants or flowers in harsh environments. 

This past January, Makoto created the piece "Iced Flowers," which consisted of 16 large ice block columns, arranged in lines on the concrete floor of an industrial factory. 

Makoto also shared photographs of "Skiki 1x The Abandoned Power Plant" this June, which featured a bonsai plant suspended (or arrested, metaphorically) in mid-air by numerous metal wires. The metal frame holding the bonsai sits at the bottom of a cooling tower in a former coal-burning power plant in Belgium. 


Through his manipulation of natural elements like flowers and plants, and the placement of those works in industrial, or harsh climates, Makoto's works prompts thoughts about how we each control nature's reality (without direct manipulation) with the choices we make everyday.  

Azuma Makoto's latest project is even more dramatic than his two projects above, and required Makoto and his team to travel to the Hinoba-an Sea in the Philippines. Using a simple raft as a base (similar to those used by local fishermen), Makoto assembled the 13-foot, floating, floral sculpture piece-by-piece, using 10,000 heliconia flowers and 100 banana leaves. His team also recorded the process, and made a documentary about the project which can be viewed online. 

In an interview with Spoon & Tamago, Makoto commented on his choice of location: 

The ocean accounts 70% of the surface of the earth, and therefore it created magnificent stage for the project. A vivid contrast between expressions of the flowers that change every minute and the surrounding environment were recorded as a documentary.

Spoon & Tamago maintains that Makoto is "rarely political in his work," but it is hard not to interpret his pieces as "a statement about our human desire to harness and control nature and energy."

What do you think about Makoto's projects? Do they imply any sociopolitical message about the environment, or do you just see surreal scenes with botanicals?

Read more about Azuma Makoto's projects here >>