Australian designer Bart Hassam Wins Renowned International Design Competition
Bart Hassam’s love of flowers blossomed from his relationship with a very special person in his life. “My grandmother Ruby was mainly responsible for encouraging my love of flowers and plants,” he says. “She had a large house and garden, and a love for all things aesthetic – food, fashion and flowers.”
Throughout his childhood, Bart spent Saturdays with his grandmother. They would pick flowers and arrange them. Bart learned the plant names and how they grew and fell in love with it all.
“I was learning and not really realizing I was learning,” he says.
“She was also in the Garden Club and the Floral Art Society, and entered me in junior Floral Art competitions and found I was quite good at them. It went from there.”
Bart created his first wedding bouquet for a family wedding when he was 13. He then worked for a family friend who had a flower shop. He went on to earn his Certificate of Commercial Floristry and moved to Japan to work as a design assistant. He spent 10 years traveling back and forth between Japan and Australia.
A gifted floral designer, he’s won many awards for his work. And this year, he took home the coveted 2019 FTD World Cup, a highly prestigious international competition featuring the world’s top floral designers representing 23 countries – held recently at the Philadelphia Flower Show. It is an achievement he is especially proud of.
“It’s a great honor and a privilege,” Bart says. “I am keenly aware that not everyone gets to do a World Cup, and even fewer people get to win, so I understand that it’s a special position I am now in. The reason for entering, was of course, to try and win – but more so, to present beautiful work on a world stage in front of my floristry peers from around the world. I already travel the world teaching and sharing my particular design style. Hopefully now, this will allow me to do more of this.”
Bart says he draws inspiration from “everywhere.” He discovers new ideas for his work in plant material, Art Nouveau design, architecture (especially Frank Lloyd Wright’s work) and from other floral designers.
“It can be a small idea or a broad style,” he says, “but it always relates to elegance, style, line and form.”
Like many floral professionals, Bart says he finds that managing his business along with the design part of his life is a balancing act. It’s also a constant challenge to keep his designs relevant while continually exploring new and innovative creative approaches.
He offers the following suggestion for other designers. “Keep swimming…try to keep your own style and brand and ‘floral morals’ and you’ll carve out your own place in the industry.”