Les Floralies Internationales Nantes only happens once every five years, but the floral and horticultural event is one of Europe’s largest and it attracts hundreds of visitors and exhibitors from all over the world. For the 12th iteration, Japanese producer Keiji Rose Farm tapped Tokyo-based designer Sohei Nakanishi and Kei Nakanishi, creative and branding director of Parameta Inc., to devise the space for Wabara, a landscaped exhibition of original roses created exclusively by the company.

Based in the countryside of Shiga on the banks of Lake Biwa, the business aims to respect the natural cycle of flower growth at each stage, producing without excessive chemicals or processes. Looking to leave an impression with visitors and stand out among fellow exhibitors in Nantes, it briefed a space that’d feel as non-commercial as possible. Nakanishi’s task was to make the Keiji Rose Farm team's values palpable to visitors the moment they entered the built-and-organic landscape.

So the designer took a tactile approach, playing up the total sensory experience with visually powerful installations. At the centre of the exhibition space was a massive 8-m by 8-m jet black pool, a feature that Nakanishi created with traditional Japanese ink. A stately, 20-m metallic mesh sculpture titled Gliage hung above, mirrored by the reflection of the pool. And jutting out from the undulating landscape were planes of black glass, atop which sat the roses.

Utilizing industrial materials and lighting enabled Nakanishi to sharpen the focus on the organic. ‘By using different elements and techniques from a more architectural perspective, I aimed to sublimate the nature of Wabara to the visitors of the space,’ explains Nakanishi. ‘I wanted to take the installation further than just being a display of objects and instead create a place for more spiritual and philosophical connections.’