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Courtesy of Lewis Miller Design
Courtesy of Lewis Miller Design
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This New York City Floral Designer Is Turning Trash Into Treasure

Picture of Julia Goicochea
Updated: 1 June 2017

There’s no shortage of beautiful or bizarre sights in New York City; these “flower flashes” from local designer Lewis Miller are both. These vibrant floral arrangements, cropping up in the most unexpected places (think street corners, public parks, and actual garbage cans), can even make New Yorkers want to stop and smell the roses.

When Lewis Miller Design says that it aims to create memorable experiences “wherever the location may be,” the studio isn’t joking. Headed by floral designer Lewis Miller, the design studio, which has produced work for high-end clients such as VOGUE, Chanel, and the CFDA, to name but a few, has recently tackled a different sort of landscape: the streets of New York City. From public parks to statues to garbage cans (yes, really), this designer has stealthily been beautifying the city by transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Whether you’ve been lucky enough to witness Miller’s designs in person or are solely familiar with them as Instagram sensations, the Flower Flashes that began cropping up last fall are sure to have captured your attention. The elaborate floral arrangements have appeared under the iconic arch in Washington Square Park, draped over Central Park’s Alice In Wonderland statue, and on street corners across the city, bursting forth from public trash cans. When asked what prompted these displays, Miller cites his love for bringing nature into the home. “My trash can flashes are an extreme version of this idea,” he says. “It’s the wild and raw abundance of the country popping up in this gorgeous yet grimy city in a very unexpected and beautiful way.”

The flashes, assembled by Lewis and his team at the crack of dawn, are certainly unexpected, popping up unannounced. With some installations incorporating several thousand recycled flowers, the designs are beautifully complex—a quality Miller claims as inspiration: “I love the high-low quality of the trash can flashes. The pink arrangement on East 12th, that garbage can was filled with flowering azalea branches, peonies and a clutch of delicate Japanese ranunculus, one of the most expensive flowers you can buy.” Considering how this concept appeals to New Yorkers’ famous love of irony, if Miller’s designs seem to be made specifically for New York, it’s because they are. “These flashes are raw and bold, they are imperfect, not precious,” states the designer. “A lot like New Yorkers, themselves.”