Chances are, even if you haven’t heard of Chris Teo, you’ve seen his statement arrangements. They’re all over town, making regular appearances in luxury stores, spas, hotels and restaurants. Despite having no formal training, he’s built a 20-year career on referrals alone. Long-time clients like Amara Hotel and Adrian Tan, director of creative agency Ad Planet, often recommend him to their own pool of industry pals.
Now, there’s another client base catching on to his work, thanks to his pop-up atelier at Scotts Square (till Aug), run as part of creative agency Kinetic Singapore’s K+ curatorial programme: the fashion-savvy ladies who lunch. Says Teo: “A lot of them wander in here, and (since starting) I’ve seen an increase in orders for home arrangements and wedding centrepieces.”
It’s little wonder: Teo’s arrangements are always bold, modern and not for wallflowers. In his sculptural creations, he combines unusual elements and “architectural” specimens – think dagger-like heliconias and origami-esque birds of paradise – to create the illusion of movement. “My customers always tell me they like how my arrangements look so ‘alive’,” he says.
His packed schedule means arrangements like the ones you see here (from $300 each) need to be ordered three to four days in advance, while special orders, such as requests for specific colours or rare specimens, take a week to complete. He’s happy to innovate to suit any budget though – he’s had customers pop by to pick up a single stalk of lily to spruce up an outfit.
An adapted version first appeared in Female’s October issue.
Photography Darren Chang Art direction Leyna Poh Hair & Makeup Phoebe Pong using Motives Cosmetics; Benedict Choo, using Make Up For Ever & Sam/Athens