Klaus Wagener has many titles in the industry. He is a floral designer (World Champion 1985) and trend scout, stylist, teacher, author of books and magazines, and the creative head of the publishing house BLOOM’s in Germany. Klaus Wagener is passionate about his work, and that passion radiates on all that he touches. You can say without a doubt that Klaus is an Influencer.
Who is Klaus Wagener?
I'm 62 years old, happily married, with 2 big children, 1 grandchild, I live with my wife in the countryside outside near the forest. We have a large garden and love it very much. My wife is also a master florist. So we have a lot in common and often work together. Professionally I am CEO at BLOOM's media marketing events with a special focus on being a creative director and frontman. Oh yes - our daughter lives in the Netherlands and has started a family with her husband and they both work in the green industry. So the Netherlands is our second home. And we have chocolate brown Labrador and Münsterländer mix named Paula. My family is my most treasured possession.
When did you first know you wanted to work with flowers?
Very early! My parents ran two flower shops and I grew up in the middle of the shops. I liked this attitude to life, the smell of the flowers, the many natural materials, and the creative atmosphere. It was a very familiar atmosphere and private life was combined with business. For me this was - and still is - no problem.
Why flowers? What makes them special?
Flowers mean living nature and through evolution have developed a diversity that always inspires respect and awe in me. How lucky we are to be able to experience and see this floral world. We gardeners and florists are actually privileged - we are allowed to work with one of the best ingredients in the world - we should be aware of that.
Which style of floral arrangements do you love most?
I love parallel-styled bouquets: long flowers arranged in a bowl with some large stones, some thin branches. In this case for me, less is more.
You come from a family of florists. How did that form you in your early years as a designer?
I was always allowed to try out everything and I was hardly ever told what to do, so I was completely unbiased - even in floral design - and I felt my way through the big wide world of possibilities. Relatively quickly I realized that I needed new challenges and started to enter professional competitions. This gave me a real boost and I was able to assess myself better and better but was also able to readjust myself.
Can flower growers still surprise you?
Of course. Novelties, fascinating breeds, innovative cultivation, and marketing methods - all this interests me very much. Besides nature, traveling, the internet, social networks, hiking, and sports, this gives me inspiration. I firmly believe in the power of intelligent innovation and evolutionary development. And I don't necessarily mean "Faster-Higher-Better". Rather, I see the focus on responsibility in terms of quality, conservation of human and natural resources, sustainability, fair global diversity, and balanced economic efficiency.
A few pictures in this interview are from your book, tell us a little bit about it.
I love my book productions, including Naturwerkstatt (Nature Workshop) and Pure Style. They are completely me and I enjoyed every step of it.
PURE STYLE. Less is more and the rampant affluence society is no longer a permanent model for the future. People want to live more consciously and only own the things they really need. A change in values is building up, which - if things go well - stands for better honest quality and reason in consumption. Less is more - and that doesn't mean doing without, but consuming consciously while preserving natural resources. I hope that virtues like understatement will characterize us, humans, more and more. Understatement is a word I love. The development towards this will not be linear but will be eventful because it is a process of change that does not immediately take everyone with it. But the beauty of it is that we - the floral green industry - gain a lot of future perspectives with it.
You are also a teacher. What characteristics are you looking for in students? When do you know if someone is talented?
It is often the quiet people who do not stand out at first. But you can recognize talents quite quickly when you see the practical work of the participants in a seminar. At the latest after 3 workpieces have been created, these talents crystallize. I always enjoy having such experiences and observing the development of natural talents.
Do you have a favorite flower? And which one could aline with Klaus Wagener as a person?
Yes, it is the lupin (Lupinus polyphyllus). I like this kind of farm garden flowers with a rural touch. I also associate childhood memories with the lupin. My birthday is in May and I often received these flowers as a gift from a neighbor. Now many of them grow in my own garden and I always look forward to the merry month of May. My second favorite flower? That is the clematis and it also grows in our garden as a climbing plant. It also has the character of a cottage - the connecting element to lupine. And in Helleborus Orientalis, I recognize myself: a botanical character, found in the forest ( where I feel most at home ) and they last a long time. Flowers are very important in my life and trees, I couldn't live without them.
What would you call your style of designing?
Contemporary, nature-oriented, and artisanal. That trend suits me. Less is more: vegetative designs, pure style, and ikebana. Overconsumption and everything that is useless, excessive, and not sustainable are out.
How do you relax after a long day?
There are several possibilities. I take a bottle of water and put on my hiking boots and get out into nature. Or I'll drink a cup of coffee, go into the garden and do something. Or I would light candles, choose a nice musk and pour a glass of wine. Listening to music is also an option. Here is my favorite playlist: Aloe Blacc, Maroon 5, Ed Sheeran, James Arthur, Ella Fitzgerald, Till Brönner and Hauser.
Do you have a favorite quote?
"Lifestyle is a constant source for contemporary floristry.”
How does one become an expert in scouting trends? Any tips for florists who have the same ambition?
Trends can be found everywhere because they show up every day in our living environment. They are particularly visible in magazines, at trade fairs, in hip cities, and, very strongly, on the worldwide web. This is where they intensify and are often made clear through exaggeration. The dimension time plays an important role in this. Trends thrive on change and only those who are permanently occupied with them will be able to penetrate and understand them more deeply. They can use them for themselves much better than those who only look at them temporarily. As florists are often very creative, they naturally have a strong sense for lifestyle and therefore also for trends. This is a good basis on which to build. Add to this a positive curiosity and you have what it takes to be a trend scout. What more could you ask for? Florists, in particular, have a lot of potentials to do this. I have worked on Floral Trends for 2021 with Marginpar. Read all about it here.
Which qualities do young florists need in the future in the floral industry?
Of the top of my head, the following qualities need to tie in well together: Creativity & talent Passion & diligence Energy & perseverance Readiness for continuous learning & healthy curiosity Positive thinking & composure Humility & healthy self-reflection Getting up to become visible is not so difficult at first. You simply have to present or perform something very special. But how do you stand out in the long term and how can your environment perceive you as positively as possible? This is only possible if you remain humble and don't take yourself too seriously, and if you continually reposition yourself in the spirit of the times and lifestyle and adjust yourself in the interplay of all forces. It helps if you know yourself well and have a sense of how you are perceived by your surroundings. It is refreshing to be able to reinvent yourself again and again - while maintaining a line. At the same time, defeat should be seen as an opportunity to become better. However, the greatest successes should be seen as gifts, which can very quickly become fleeting again. In the end, you have to develop a good balance between self-confidence and self-criticism.
What’s one thing you would tell to young designers?
Stay calm and don’t get angry so quickly. Anyone can sprint, but it’s in the long run that things are decided. Also, leverage your strengths and don’t waste more energy than needed. Do not work harder than necessary and find a good work-life balance.
What is your association with ‘summer flowers’?
I associate it with cheerful country life and joie de vivre. What I like best is unstyled and very natural. Such summer flowers are the little moments of happiness in everyday life and immediately convey positive energy.
You have many talents. Is there still something you dream about achieving?
Oh yes, I want to become wise. Supposedly you will if you keep a childlike sense of humor and self-irony. I admire humorous people. They are able to see complicated things in a very simple way and can therefore help themselves and, above all, others. I am still working on that and the older you get, the more experience you gain, and then maybe one day I'll get there 😉 "Schauen wir mal" ("We'll see") is what they say calmly and a little bit wisely in German.