For about three years floral designer Lewis Miller has been recycling flowers as a way to jolt busy, always preoccupied New Yorkers into a moment of delighted awareness of their surroundings. He and his team seek out the most ordinary and overlooked features of the city, places like subway entrances, garbage cans, and construction sites, and exalt them with elaborate flower arrangements.
On a sunny, hot day last summer their most ambitious project to date bloomed on the Upper West Side: an array of pink, blue, and purple flowers filling and spilling out of a phone booth, one of the last of its kind still functional in the city.
The flowers the artists use for their “flower flashes” are from events for which Miller’s company, Lewis Miller Design (LMD), created the floral arrangements. They brighten up their new locations for a few hours, or even just a few minutes, until — as is Miller’s intention — they’re snapped up by people who recycle them yet again in their own homes or offices.
“New Yorkers are hard to surprise and hard to please, so if we can lure a childlike reaction out of them, that’s a victory and a gift to [me and my team],” Lewis says.
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Radical Joy Revealed is a weekly message of inspiration about finding and making beauty in wounded places.