My Life with Diane Nittke

NOV 24, 2016

Diane Nittke doesn't believe in standard floral packages. From bespoke arrangements to seasonal and festive collections inspired by everything from art and architecture to theatre and fashion, her brand, Ellermann Flower Boutique, specialises in stunning floral creations that are unique and, more often than not, personalised.

How did Ellermann Flower Boutique come about?
My job as a graphic designer first brought me to Hong Kong. I then started working in events and I was always doing flowers on a smaller scale. It was partly out of passion but also because I discovered a niche in the market and the need for tasteful European florals that Ellermann came about. I found the perfect space and launched the business in 2011, opening my Landmark boutique two years later.

What sets Ellermann apart from other flower boutiques?
We have always been a pioneer and we often set the trends. At Ellermann we try to create something that's new and fresh. A lot of other florists have popped up in Hong Kong, which is great as it creates an awareness and appreciation of flowers, but at Ellermann we really look across the border rather than looking at what others are doing here. We are inspired by architecture, theatre and fashion in particular, so we pick up on colours and trends, and even shapes and emotions. It's about being really creative and original.

What are the latest trends in florals?
There is a trend towards more natural looks with a lot more movement and more greens. We've been doing lots of beautiful flower chandeliers, sometimes with just botanicals and fewer flowers. There are moves away from dense, compact flowers to something with an effortlessly arranged look. We have very special foliage at Ellerman that makes us unique, and we use it not just to prop up the flowers but the foliage actually becomes an integral part of each arrangement.

Do you have a typical day?
I arrive in the office early. We have a big studio in Wong Chuk Hang – that's our creative hub where our florists and event studio are. We start the day with a catch-up meeting and do some project-planning for forthcoming events. As an entrepreneur with a small business there is always some admin to do, but I always try to get hands-on in the afternoon and work on the arrangements together with the team.

Where do you source most of your flowers?
We order many of them direct from Holland so we can control the quality. We also work with wholesale vendors here in Hong Kong at the flower market.

Do you have a lot of flowers and plants in your home?
It's hard to grow flowers in Hong Kong because of the climate, and I don't really have a lot of time. But I do have a big garden and a terrace with lots of trees and plants. If I have a special occasion, and as the weekend approaches, I will always have flowers in the house, but funnily enough they are often less arranged – sometimes just solid flowers in a vase.

Any tips for the perfect arrangement?
Be bold and courageous and make your arrangement look effortless and interesting and as natural as possible. The harder you try, the more confined it looks. Also, don't go crazy with the flowers – stay within a colour family or harmony. There can be contrast but I wouldn't combine too many flowers. Pick a main, central flower and let this really shine – make it your muse and create everything else around it. Again, keep it natural and textured with beautiful movement, and this way it becomes unique and interesting.

Diane wears top and skirt by Marni, necklace and earrings by Dior, both at LANDMARK ATRIUM. Wall textiles by Rubelli, wallpaper used as table runner by Colefax and Fowler, blue and white porcelain vase, all at Altfield Gallery, LANDMARK PRINCE’S; Pivoines hand-painted fluted vase, Pont aux Choux Pivoines teapot, tea cup, saucer and plate, Millefleurs rice bowl, all by Gien at Heather & March, LANDMARK PRINCE’S; Acorn melon set and Blossom teaspoon by Georg Jensen, LANDMARK PRINCE’S; Tsar crystal stemware, Corolle crystal vase and Papillon lucky crystal butterflies in amber, green and purple by Baccarat, LANDMARK PRINCE’S; porcelain parrot by Reichenbach, green glass vase, green ceramic vase and flowers, all at Ellermann Flower Boutique, LANDMARK ATRIUM.

Photography by Andrew J. Loiterton
Styling by Kate Jones