The Polish city of Katowice was transformed into a floral haven from the 25th to the 26th of August after Masterflorists from across Europe converged for a showdown to determine who was the best among the best floral stylists in the continent. After two days of gruelling competition, Dutch Masterflorist Hanneke Frankema emerged victorious. Porta Nova is proud to have been one of Hanneke’s sponsors during the auspicious event.

Hanneke Frankema is the Europa Cup winner for flower styling
Hanneke Frankema Europa Cup winner

We at Porta Nova have had the honour to work with Hanneke Frankema on various projects in the past.

After her victorious run at Europa Cup, we had a chat with her about her drive and inspiration going into the championships. We hope you will all get inspired by her technique and style as she shares the making-of processes of the various arrangements that saw her clinch the coveted title.

Congratulations on becoming the floral-styling European champion. This is such an awesome and memorable achievement. How does it feel to be the winner?

It feels quite amazing of course! I am very happy I emerged as the winner.

Hanneke Frankema wins Europa Cup in Katowice Polland

What was your preparation like? Did you enjoy the process leading to the competition or did you find it a bit too hectic?

The preparation was very tough this time round because the competition had been postponed several times, which gave one the feeling that you needed to work extra hard on it, although you’re still waiting to start. And then finally the announcement came in that the show was going to happen, and then you get the feeling that you don’t have enough time for adequate preparation.

Let’s talk about the tasks. Which amongst the six were you most excited about?

I think I was happy about all of them! The surprise tasks were really not my style, but all things considered, the works turned out quite fine and I manage to get high points.

Hanneke Frankema winning designs at Europa Cup 2022

Task one – Table Decoration

Theme: Every life has a soundtrack.

Description: The work should be inspired by a song from the player’s country. The competitor makes a table decoration on the occasion of the school reunion after many years.

Requirements: 6 people should be able to sit at the table. Participants had sent the soundtrack, which will be inspired by the work, no later than one month before the start of the Championship. The work cannot exceed the following dimensions: 200 cm wide by 200 cm long by 200 cm high. The plant material will be provided by the organizer.

(sponsored by Oz Export)

Hanneke Frankema table decoration europa cup

Right from the onset, your Table Arrangement was quite a crowd favourite. Tell us more about your proposed soundtrack and inspiration for this decoration.

The soundtrack is “teach me how to dance with you” The whole theme of the event was music and dance. I like it when everything matches. The table was made out of 2 pieces and with lots of dancing lines that came together in harmony as one.

What special floral design techniques did you use in this creation?

The whole structure is hand-made from Cast Iron! I love Art Nouveau and Jugentstil and this table breathes these styles! I found a great artist who understood what I was looking for! He also made the two bases for other tasks! This is such a special process and technique! We have been working on this for a very long time….

I spray-painted the Cast Iron myself with product from Smithers Oasis.

When this was done I could start making the branches out of thick bruin 5 MM Aluminium wire from the wireman covered with copper colour bouillon wire. This is all made with a drilling machine. Because some are 5 meters long I made a whole construction to make this and I always had one person to help with this! It took several weeks to make these branches. With a smaller 2 MM, I fixed the mouth-blown glass tubes on the branches! These are also used as drinking glasses with Aperol Spritz

The 6 cushions are handmade by my aunt and are my own design! They Match the colour of the flowers and the base of this piece! The flowers we used were ordered from OZ Export BV. The choice of these flowers was not hard! With beautiful flowers from Marginpar Clematis Amazing I had Clematis and Gloriosa. From Coloríginz Nutans and Protea, from @boumaanthuriums several Anthuriums, and amazing Vanda from Ansu Vanda and Carnation I made a nice flower and colour mix!

Task two: Installation with the Use of a Floral Sponge

Theme: Dance in the rain.

Description: The work should show the beauty of dance and movement.

Requirements: A minimum of 50% of viable plant material must be placed in the Oasis® floristic sponge. A minimum of 50% of the ordered floristic sponge must be used at work. The work cannot exceed the following dimensions: 300 cm wide by 200 cm long by 250 cm high. The florist sponge will be provided by the organizer.

(sponsored by Smithers-Oasis®)

Your raindrop was a gorgeous display of elaborate detail and technique during the second assignment. What were some of these floral design techniques and what was the inspiration behind it?

The techniques were the same as for the table. The shape is a raindrop so the inspiration is very clear! 😉 Also the Lotus seedpods grow in water with also matches very well with the theme.

Take us through the making of this design

Again the frame is made from Cast Iron! 50% of the materials had to get water from the Bio Black Foam from OASIS.
In the chandelier are 11 Lotus seedpods where the Bio Black Foam is placed. Next to this are mouth-blown glass tubes in a teardrop shape. I can write a book about the flowers and Botanical materials used in this Chandelier. I visited many greenhouses to get all the special materials used for this task! Also, the same handmade branches are inside like the table from aluminium wire.

Task three: Bouquet

Theme: Life is much like a song.

Description: The work should be inspired by the song “Espana Forever” by Maanam.

Requirements: One person should be able to carry the bouquet. The competitor will secure a vase for the bouquet, which will also be judged as part of the entire work. All materials are provided by the competitor.

Hanneke Frankema Europa Cup champion of flower styling

Tell us about the making of this magnificent bouquet and how you achieved bringing out the melodies of ‘Espana Forever’ through the creation.

Music is about rhythm. I made a rhythm with the copper leaves inside.

It is made from real copper Acanthus leaves….. so so so beautiful! made by Wout Admiraal who also made the Cast Iron bases for the first 2 tasks. The leaves are handmade and take a full day each to make! There are 7 in this bouquet! There is a welded frame to support them and hold them in place! Using 5 mm thick aluminium wire, I made a symmetrical recurring construction through and around the leaves. I then created a 3D base with layers to achieve depth! This wire construction has both a decorative function and a technical function because this also supports and holds the flowers, leaves and materials in the place you want! I love techniques where you work both technical and decorative! In this case, it also works very fast and this was good because we had only 40 minutes to make this!

Task four: Floral body decoration

Theme: Dancing queen.

Description: Decoration of the dancer’s body inspired by the recording received by the contestants.

Requirements: The competitor may use the bodysuit at work as a base for arrangement but the work cannot restrict the dancer’s movements. All materials are provided by the competitor.

Hanneke Frankema fashion piece floral art design championship

We feel like the body decoration actually stood out as a fashionable wearable piece. Tell us the story behind this design.

With 93.1, this design earned me the highest points, but it was also one of the hardest tasks I have ever had to tackle. The routine of the dance did not allow for a lot of possibilities. Being able to achieve movement was very important in this task.

The Roots from the Davallia Fern I used for the body decoration are quite special ones! they SUPER long! Thanks to Hillplant bv Decorum Company I was able to pick out the plants in the greenhouse with the longest roots! Most of the roots are as long as the corset, in this way I could glue them on very fast. The roots not only have a beautiful golden colour but they are also very strong and still flexible so you can still dance in this body decoration! On top, I made a construction out of wire to protect all the flowers inside.

Task five: A Musical Surprise

Description: Competitors receive all the details of the task directly before the competition. Working the overall theme of music and dance contestants were given a surprise package of flowers and sundries and an hour to create a finished design using as many elements as possible.

(sponsored by JMP Flowers)

Surprise tasks are never a walk in the park. Tell us how you managed to bring out a musical feeling with this creation which demanded a piece that would sit well in a big concert hall with a huge piano.

“Plantarrangement” in a concert hall next to the piano! Given a metal frame, lots of Polygonum sticks, Phaleanopsis Orchids, a selection of other green plants and some decorative materials. I always like to do something else other than what seems obvious. So I thought let’s put this black frame on top of the piano, so I can work in a more refined way, with details and an elegant strong shape. It can be a risk but it worked out very well and earned us good points!

I immediately decided to not use the Polygonum sticks to make a huge frame, I knew my fellow contenders would jump to these. I made a basket from black florist wire, and put in moss and plastic to make sure the plants can get water! then planted the Phaleanopsis with a Ceropegia inside. I wanted to make a teardrop shape but this is quite a challenge with plants. I used only a couple of Polygonumsticks to support the Phaleanopsis. I made branches from aluminium wire to use decorative and technical. With these branches, I was able to make the shape as close as possible to the teardrop shape! The wire is like a growing line that also holds the Phaleanopsis stems, Ceropegia and the other plants into the place I want! A very fast, good, and beautiful working technique!

Task six: The Grand Finale

Do you like surprise tasks, or do they make you nervous? And how do you handle the pressure to deliver magic in front of a live audience?

Well, they always make me a bit nervous, because I like to have control. I have no worries about audiences because, at this point in my career, I am quite used to it. At first, you just focus on the task and then when you are more relaxed you can enjoy the moment on stage.