By: Garrett Skupinski, CF
Traveling to Italy to compete at Arteflorando SAFIA E20
Recently I had the distinct privilege of representing the United States at Arteflorando SAFIA E20 in Leverano, Italy.
Arteflorando SAFIA E20 is an international floral design competition hosted by SAFIA EVENTI and Ivan Bergh Floral School. The competitors are given three tasks with very specific guidelines for each task. There is a technical committee during the competition and a panel of judges all following the FLORINT International 100-Points-System.
My goals attending Arteflorando were to walk away with the better understanding of international floral design competition, gain more knowledge of the FLORINT International 100-Point-System, and familiarize myself with amazing international designers and their work.
The experience was everything I hoped for and more, from the second I arrived at the Convento Santa Maria delle Grazie. The convent was our home base for meals, prepping for competition tasks, and the awards ceremony.
We started right off on Task #1 with the title “Italy, a country with numerous traditions,” where we were to interpret one or more Italian traditions. The traditions I chose were foliage weaving and interpreting a Cornetti charm.
As I was competing alone and the other competitors were made up of two-person teams, one competitor and one assistant, I had the wonderful pleasure of having the very talented Marco Chiacchiaraelli from the Ivan Bergh Floral School by my side throughout the competition.
“Surprise Task” was the title of the second task, and it took is outside where to our surprise we designed on three-wheeled ape delivery trucks! Our delivery trucks were scattered throughout the center of the village square and we had split our flowers between Task #2 and #3. I’m really into mohawks as an easy go-to design style, so that’s where we went with our truck and it worked out great.
When the third task rolled around I was a lot more relaxed and just enjoying everything that came my way. The title of Task #3 was “Surprise – Tremendous Bouquet” and we made, you guessed it…a tremendous bouquet. The design had to stand on its own and be “tremendous” -with everything else up to us the designers. With our prep time I created a simple rectangular armature that was easy to hand-tie and I designed a unique and large sized bouquet.
Having achieved one of my goals of international competition and another underway with the judges evaluating the final task, I continued on my other goal. There were many hours until the awards and I had made fast friends with Team Denmark made up of Lene M∅ller Christiansen and Louise Graakjaer…so they tossed me in the car and we zipped off to the coast. These two very talented ladies ended up not just placing first in two tasks but winning the overall first place! The amount of talent was inspiring, not only from my fellow competitors but also the amazing Arteflorando team that designed captivating pieces throughout all of Leverano.
Returning home, I left Italy truly content from the experience. With many respectable design competitions in the USA it was very interesting and exciting to not only face judging quite different from that in the USA, but also have the lead judge be Marios Vallianos, head judge of the 2009 Interflora World Cup.
I can’t wait for next year Arteflorando competition and I hope to have other American teams or competitors alongside me.