Drive past the bustling intersection at the corner of Fountain Avenue and Sunset Boulevard in Silverlake and you might easily miss the recent arrival of Spruce, the Los Angeles edition of one of New York City’s most celebrated and awarded flower boutiques. It is not because it is particularly demure or due to any particular design flaw that Spruce might so easily escape immediate recognition, but instead because the space is so unlike any other floral emporium in the City of Angels. In fact, it is in this very quality of singularity that Gaige Clark, the owner, mastermind and floral artist behind Spruce’s visionary approach to floral design, revels.
For the last 15 years, the originality of Clark’s floral arrangements has been setting the global design community ablaze while simultaneously setting the scene for television shows like Ugly Betty, Ellen, Law & Order and Damages, as well as a who’s who of clients that includes a mix of celebrities, socialites and royals. With two stores in New York and now one in Los Angeles, Clark has, with her unique approach and in her own inimitable way, evolved the art of floral design and the essence of floral boutiques one elegant stem at a time.
“I hate when people say, ‘I’m an artist’, but I feel like I am a creative director and what I do is I create spaces, and then when I create the spaces I put flowers into them,” Clark explained over a glass of Spruce juice, the refreshing signature concoction that welcomes customers into her minimalist chic vision of the world. “This is the most modern store I’ve built and the aesthetic of this store is based on the Getty and homes that I visited in Palm Springs. What I wanted to create was a flower laboratory. I wanted to deconstruct flowers to their essence…like no one’s ever done before.” Check.
There is something absolutely post-modern about Spruce. The white walls of the store are lined with shelves showcasing individual blooms in architectural vases, flowers and leaves submerged in jars and wooden crates packed with perfectly upright, neatly lined rows of roses unfettered by a shred of embellishment. In its sleekness, Spruce represents, in short, the antithesis of the traditional flower franchise and the penultimate in modern. No wonder then that Clark counts among her greatest compliments the words of the writer who after visiting her Silverlake outpost wrote, “…If there was a flower shop in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange it would be Spruce,” a description that is admittedly so fitting it would be difficult to best.
As if revolutionizing the very idea of floral design vis-à-vis her three stores weren’t enough, Clark now has her sights set on so much more. On the horizon is the imminent launch of a Spruce product line that will include bath salts, body lotion, hand soap and an antibacterial countertop spray, in store classes in floral arranging, and a book that will, among other things, explore Clark’s experience of growing up gender queer. There’s also the leather store in Provincetown she hopes to buy and bubbling under plans for Spruce stores in Paris and Japan. Needless to say, Clark is as long on ambition as she is on creativity.
Asked about the source of here seemingly boundless drive, Clark credits her upbringing. “I have two very charismatic parents,” she explains. “My mother really, really drove me and my father does standup comedy. He’s so funny. So I think I got humor from him and the ability to be able to look beyond the tragedy in our lives. The key to it I think is laughing at things. That’s why I’ve always been able to say, ‘What’s next?’ You know …you lift yourself up you dust yourself off and accept.”
And then bloom…clearly.
Find out more about Spruce at www.sprucela.com.