Flowerboy Project: Our Pick of the Bunch

03.22.2016 Arts & Culture
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Think flowers, coffee, and quality goods. Think an industrial space: cement, white pine planks, ladder frames, commingling with flowers, art, caffeine, community, and warm Venice vibes. That’s the Flowerboy Project.

“Urban beach” is how Sean Knibbs describes his hybrid boutique. A successful designer who has lived in Venice most of his life, Sean didn’t want to create just another coffee shop. He wanted to do something more interesting. A concept cafe. NYC bodega style. Flowers to go, really good coffee, neat gifts. That simple.

Then Sean decided to partner up with other inspiring people in his life. In came Lindsay and Raan Parton of Alchemy Works and a beautiful curation of gifts. The result is a mixture of high design and whimsy, a perfect balance between casual and conceptual, and all-together completely unpretentious, raw, community-oriented, and warm.

Sean knows how to mix material to create different levels of feeling. His firm designed The Line Hotel in Koreatown, a midcentury modern tower with stripped concrete walls and an industrial-chic aesthetic. A quiet sanctuary in the heart of all the madness, with views of the Hollywood Hills and a swath of palm trees in the foreground. A quick peek at the pool on the weekend is enough to reveal its success.

With The Line, Sean wanted to create “a low vibrating environment that was connected to the city. So you could feel the city and its rawness and the elements that make up the city, but in a very peaceful, simplistic, monastic kind of way. Neutral and interesting.”

His description of The Line can easily be used to elucidate the Flowerboy Project, regardless of the bigger scale or budget.

So why Flowerboy? Sean is a landscape architect, but the name is a homage to his florist grandma in Jamaica, who he visited as a child.

“People look to nature all the time for inspiration, and I find this really interesting. I’ve been in the garden for so long, coming out of the garden and into urban spaces makes me think how can I bring that here? How do they commingle? Texture and color are represented in gardens. It’s not just about forestry and meadows, but how do you get that feeling in the city, in an interior?”

This curiosity led him into designing a hip hotel, but also a sweet boutique space with a lush offering of flowers, children’s rainbow alphabet magnets spelling out the playful cafe menu, and an array of quality goods that arouse the sensesperfume, ceramic, and textiles all intermingling in a raw space with a warm social aspect, as Sean himself describes, “urban, but soft.” An elevation of things that wouldn’t typically be elevated.

Sean may be in a retail space, but he doesn’t seem to connect to the consumerist culture. He proposed the question, “What do we really need to buy?” To him, gifts for your loved ones should not be selected based on cost. “Preciousness does not come from cost. It comes from sensitivity and understanding. It has nothing to do with cost.” He believes gift-giving should come from pure, genuine interest.

“An interest that resonates all the way through. The environment is interesting, the people are interesting, the object is interesting, and the delivery creates interest and connection. So it’s not the object. It’s the place. Everybody wants a special place. So that’s what Flowerboy Project is, a special place.”

Cheers, Sean, and thank you for providing the best damn rose latte with honey milk.

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