The talented Gábor Nagy from Hungary claimed the victory at Eurofleurs 2017, Florint’s European Championship for Young Florists. 10 young designers made 50 championship arrangements. 5 monumental locations were decorated florally. Eurofleurs 2017 took place in the town of Sint-Truiden, Belgium.
Competing in the junior edition of the European Championship, held from September 15-18, were 10 of the continent’s most talented young florists. Most of them are the junior national champions of the countries they represent. Over the course of 5 difficult assignments, spread out over 2 days, their flower arrangement skills were put on display.
The European Championship for Young Florists is held in a different country about every 4 years. Florint, the International Florist Organisation, supervises the contest, while one of their member associations is chosen to organise it. In 2017, that was the Royal Union of Belgian Florists (KUFB/URFB). Belgium’s Queen Mathilde herself came by, to admire the show.
The participating young florists had to envision, and execute, 5 works: an installation with flowers and plants; a floral cake; a bridal bouquet; a body decoration, and a surprise “let’s go wild” hand-tied bouquet.
Many of the assignments allowed for preparation at home. However, the last 2 had to be performed live on stage, in a historic cathedral, in front of a big audience.
The talented Gábor Nagy from Hungary won the first round, impressing the jury tremendously with his floral installation. The theme, here, was “the sins of Adam & Eve”: the piece had to symbolize the biblical temptation of the forbidden fruit, and prominently use tree branches as well as fruit:
Gábor would have won the second round as well, were it not for a small technical penalty applied by the championship judges:. As a result, the winner of task 2 was Belgium’s talent Sören van Laer, with his captivating, soft-colour cake design.
Round 3 was about making ‘Indian summer wedding’ bridal bouquets. High marks were given by the members of the jury to many of the impressive pieces. But one stood out in particular, receiving the highest total score of all the arrangements made for Eurofleurs 2017. This was the bridal bouquet by Finnish competitor Heli Haapatalo: marvellous both for the originality of its shape, the perfection of its design work, and its clever take on the Indian Summer theme:
Final assignments 4 and 5 were performed live on stage, on a catwalk, as part of an evening of entertainment organised by Belgian florist association KUFB. The young florists had to make a ‘Fruit Queen’ body adornment, which had to cleverly fit in fruit alongside flowers. Belgian competitor Sören van Laer was clearly in his element here, however. He won this round by designing a well-executed Gloriosa dress, and a hat to go along with it.
In the end, the jury felt that the passionate bouquet by Finland’s Heli Haapatalo did the best job at capturing the spirit of “let’s go wild”.
The jury quietly were able to declare the final winner of Eurofleurs 2017 around midnight: Gábor Nagy, the Hungarian.
Hungary has not only produced more Eurofleurs winners than any other nation, but also is the home country of the reigning senior European Champion: Tamás Mezőffy. He came out victorious in the Europa Cup 2016 in Genoa, Italy, last year.
Audience favourite Sören van Laer finished in second place, making his home country Belgium rightly proud. Third place in the European Championship for Young Florists 2017 was awarded to Ms. Heli Haapatalo.