Event Florist

Yves Boschmans

Saul Taylor / November 28, 2018

A man following his dreams, Yves Boschmans has built one of the most successful floral decoration companies by designing scenography for some of the world’s best events. We caught up with him at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Where did it all begin?
I started out in agriculture and then 30 years ago I opened a flower shop in Brussels. I was perhaps too creative for the shop, which didn’t work, so I started to make events. My first was at a golf tournament in Brussels where I met an events producer. They suggested I do my first tennis tournament in the city — an indoor event with the McCormack Group in 1991 — and they liked my work so much they asked me if I wanted to do a project for the Olympic Games in 1992 in Barcelona for the VIP areas. At the same time we started lots of tennis games in Germany because it was the time of Boris Becker — a lot of VIP. I heard one day that they needed a florist for the Formula One Paddock Club. I went to my first Grand Prix in 1997 and I never stopped!

The Grand Prix are all so different — does the style change from race to race?
We try to give each country a different touch to the other races. For instance, in China we use more orchids. I’m more of a decorator than a florist these days. More conceptual.

And how do the spaces differ?
When the room is very big we try to divide the space to create an atmosphere that is comfortable. Maybe it’s easier in Abu Dhabi because there are so many guests that my space becomes reduced. In Barcelona, the first race I did was one of the more complicated because we had six full trucks of flowers, foliage, everything. Six full trucks!

Where do the flowers come from?
The flowers come from Holland. We have a buyer there. But the plants are grown by my own company. I’m based in Portugal because after 10-20 years in Belgium we decided to move there because my wife is Portuguese. In Belgium we had a 10,000 sq m greenhouse and the heating was crazy, whereas in Portugal it’s just the sky. So we moved and I have my company there with a nursery. We have 5,000 sq m of plants and 2,000 sq m of storage with all kinds of foliage. And we produce a lot — this is all we use for my company. I also try to make the vases and the decorative items, too.

And what other events do you do?
We work for horse jumping tournaments including the Longines Masters in Hong Kong, in Paris and New York. We work for Red Bull Moto GP where we do all the Red Bull events. And sometimes football; for example we decorated all the VIP areas at the stadium for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

So you must travel a lot
For Formula One in particular. It is so specific and I am the only person who knows what they really, really want. So I’m at all Formula One races.