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Flower.Style35: Our Chat with Mexico City’s Design Star and International Professor of Floral, Leopoldo Gomez

Drawing inspiration from his heritage and the arts, designer and educator Leopoldo Gomez enhances his work with emotion, creativity and technical expertise. His award-winning style—defined by intricate mechanics, organic elements, vibrant color palettes and intense texture—is recognized internationally, and has been featured in a plethora of publications and prestigious design competitions worldwide. After years of work with Smithers-Oasis Mexico, Leopoldo opened his own design school in Mexico City, Centro de Arte Floral. He now dedicates a majority of his time to teaching aspiring and professional designers, spreading his love of flowers in the process.

1. What is your idea of the perfect flower arrangement? To me, the perfect arrangement is one that exemplifies the principles and elements of design within its composition. Regardless of the style, if the design conveys the artist’s desired emotion while also portraying the principles and elements, then it's a success. 

2. How did you get started in the floral industry? I was working at my mother’s catering company years ago, and at the time, they were looking to send an employee to take some design classes to incorporate floral packages in their services. Due to scheduling conflicts, I was the only person available to attend the classes. It was not long afterwards that I discovered that my true calling was flowers. Being an impassioned student led me to become a teacher and open my own schools in Mexico City.

3. If not a florist, what would be your fallback profession? I never imagined that I would be a florist in my career—my college degree was in Business Administration, and I studied that subject for many years. To be honest, my true interest and passion when I initially started my schooling was architecture. But, I ended up choosing the business route because it seemed a more lucrative idea at the time. No one was more surprised than me when I stumbled into floristry and subsequently found my true passion in life.

4. What’s your present state of mind? I feel extremely grateful. We can all agree that this past year has brought many unexpected changes and uncertainties, and the situation has given us time to slow down and reflect. In evaluating my current daily life, I find myself very thankful for the simple blessings that I am surrounded by, and the love and joy that I am fortunate enough to have in family and friends around me.

5. Are you a Type A or B personality? Example? I’m definitely Type B. Generally, I’m very easy-going, patient and flexible. I like to take my time to really enjoy things, appreciate my surroundings, and just be more relaxed and carefree—rather than rushing or stressing out in most situations.

6. What is your most treasured possession? I would not call her a possession, but in my life, I treasure my wife most.

7. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Oopsie” and “ay-ay-ay.” 

8. Where do you find inspiration outside the flower world? I find inspiration everywhere! Sometimes it can come from unexpected sources, like the culinary arts, television commercials or even kids’ toys. Most of the time, however, my most reliable inspiration source is nature. I also love to look for inspiration in architecture, sculpture, interior and furniture design, indigenous cultures and any form of modern art.

9. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would change my tendencies so that I could magically be more organized.

10. What do you consider your greatest achievement? My Mexican heritage is very important to me, so I am honored and proud to have been able to represent my country—and share my beautiful culture—at several international design competitions. I competed for Mexico in the Gateway to the America’s Cup, in Interflora’s World Cup in Philadelphia, in Barcelona’s World Flower Cup and in Huis Ten Bosch’s International Floral Design Competition in Japan. 

11. What’s one thing you would tell your younger self? Don’t let the fear of failing ever hold you back from trying anything you want to do. Failure is not the end of the world.

12. What event or job has been your favorite? My favorite event was to decorate for my own wedding. It was incredibly fun with no limitations on creativity or crazy ideas, and I was able to share the experience with the most important people in my life.

13. What is your most marked characteristic? Probably my accent when I speak English.

14. Who are your heroes in real life? Mahatma Gandhi, Emiliano Zapata, Michael Jordan and my mom.

15. Who is your floral hero? None other than Gregor Lersch.

16. What is your favorite color? Blue.

17. What is your favorite flower? Gloriosa lilies.

18. What flower could you live without? Sunflowers.

19. What would you call your style of design? Natural, transparent and experimental.

20. What is your favorite tool for working with flowers? It’s a toss up between my floral knife and drill.

21. Who’s on your playlist? The Beatles, Aerosmith, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay, The Doors, AC/DC, The Cranberries, Rolling Stones, Foo Fighters, The Kooks and Interpol.

22. What’s on your to-do list? Filming this month’s Patreon design video and finding time to work on my book project.

23. Who is your favorite artist? Santiago Calatrava. He’s a modern and innovative architect from Spain.

24. What’s the last book you read (and loved)? La Tregua by Mario Benedetti. I’ve read it four or five times already.

25. Any pets? Not officially, but during the pandemic, a litter of stray kittens and mama cat have adopted us. I also can’t wait to get a dog.

26. Favorite beverage? Soda Chanh (Vietnamese lemon-lime soda) and Thai tea.

27. What do you see trending in floral design? Sustainable and eco-friendly methods.

28. What’s out? I don’t really see anything as being “out” because trends have a way of cycling. It seems there is always something for everyone’s taste, so different methods and styles usually stick around. And this is a good thing because it gives people variety.

29. What’s your motto in life? “Never give up!”

30. How would your friends describe you? I asked a few friends to answer this question, and they said I’m laid back, creative, funny, patient and a little bit crazy.

31. What would surprise us most about you? I played football in my high school and college teams. (And by football I mean American football.) People always assume I’m talking about soccer, so that’s funny for me.

32. What have you learned from flowers? I’ve learned to appreciate the fleeting moments in life, as everything goes as easily as it comes. Flowers are also constant reminders that life is delicate, precious and goes through many stages. 

33. If you could invite three people to a dinner party who would they be? Describe the centerpiece. John Lennon, Salvador Dali and Mexican comedian Carlos Ballarta. And as imaginary as this dinner party is, the centerpieces would be just as incredulous, with out-of-this-world flowers that are vibrant, colorful and translucent, all floating in mid-air, effortlessly and inexplicably suspended in their design—making the perfect conversation piece.

34. What’s your best advice to someone just starting out in the flower industry? Pursue proper education and never stop learning. Seek experience in every way you can think of. Volunteer, take classes, read, research on your own, participate in a community garden project if possible and learn botanical nomenclature. Also, follow or subscribe to designers on social media that share design aesthetics that you are drawn to and are inspired by. There are many different aspects to the industry, so figure out which path interests you most. It’s as they say, “if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life.”

35. What did we forget to ask? Maybe just what my favorite type of food is. It’s Italian.

 

To stay connected with Leopoldo and view more of his work, click on the links below.

Leopoldo Gomez Instagram | Leopoldo Gomez Facebook | Leopoldo Gomez Patreon