Lewis Miller’s Flower Flashes Offer Wonder and Delight
Five years ago, under the cloak of darkness, New York–based floral designer Lewis Miller packed his team and 2,000 dahlias and carnations into a van, and headed for the John Lennon Memorial in Central Park. Working swiftly, they arranged the blooms around the perimeter of the circular black-and-white mosaic, and fled—leaving behind an anonymous highlighter-hued halo that quickly drew a crowd. The altruistic act stood in contrast to Miller’s typical work for private events, high fashion brands, and museums; he later called the guerilla installation one of the most rewarding he’d ever produced.
Since then, Miller has created dozens of flower bombs—elaborate compositions of blossoms pouring out of trash cans, draped over bus stations, or snaking around lamp posts—in the wee hours of the morning, each all the more alluring juxtaposed against the city’s landscape of concrete and steel. Ninety of them are chronicled in Miller’s upcoming book, Flower Flash (Monacelli Press), which takes readers petal by petal through the making of his ephemeral bursts of joy—including the ones he built outside New York’s beleaguered hospitals last year, during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, as symbols of gratitude and hope.
Flipping through the pages, which are filled with behind-the-scenes photographs and Miller’s inspiration images, the time, care, and creativity that goes into making each bouquet comes into view. “Shoving armloads of foliage into a trash can and packing it full of fluffy amber dahlias is a far cry from producing a tony wedding at the New York Public Library,” Miller writes. “But turning my craft on its head has allowed me to share my infatuation with flowers with my fellow New Yorkers. Surprising them with nature’s glory for no other reason than to bring beauty into their lives is a great way to start my day.” Consider each arrangement living, potent proof of the power of flowers.