Insight: Colleen LaFleur
October 14, 2014
Floral designer Colleen LaFleur in her Tucson studio, Atelier de LaFleur, where visitors can not only peruse her organic works of art but also attend eco-friendly workshops. Destined for a career in plantscaping, floral designer Colleen LaFleur grew a green thumb early on while watching her dad work on landscaping projects. Not surprisingly, LaFleur chose to study horticulture at the University of Illinois, but was drawn to the Tucson desert soon after. “I was struck by the beauty and resiliency of the area’s natural biology,” she says. Today, LaFleur is reshaping the art of plantscaping and floral design by emphasizing sustainability with her namesake business—LaFleur Plantscapes & Fresh Flora—and European-style market and workshop.
LX: Favorite decorating sources:
CL: I like to search for unique pieces that can be repurposed into creative planters and containers. Locally, I frequent Mast and The Grey House Antiques.
LX: Design period you find most engaging:
CL: Midcentury modern. It inspires me to create work that is organic, minimal and timeless.
LX: Eames or Mackintosh?
CL: Eames. The sculpted yet fluid lines of their work remind me of floral design.
LX: Current projects:
CL: I renovated the front entrance and atrium of a Tucson home built by architect Will Bruder. We updated the existing plant palette from sterile 1970s-style office (CK) plants to modern combinations. My next project is a “green” backyard living space for a craftsman bungalow in the Sam Hughes neighborhood.
LX: Design muse:
CL: Fashion designer Isabel Marant. I love her flirty Parisian style.
LX: Treasured keepsakes:
CL: A baby grand piano in my living room and a vintage French chandelier in the atelier.