Van Cleef & Arpels’s Impressionist Garden Display Ushers in Spring on NYC’s Fifth Avenue


Spring in New York conjures crowds, the smell of roasted nuts, blooming mosses and hydrangeas near Central Park, and much more. That seasonal energy is the inspiration behind Van Cleef & Arpels’s third annual sidewalk install, “Fifth Avenue Blooms,” which runs between May 1 to 31 in partnership with the Fifth Avenue Association. Paris-based artist Alexandre Benjamin Navet has conceptualized a multidimensional “unfolding garden” for the celebration. Between 50th and 59th Streets—sandwiching the Van Cleef & Arpels flagship—the avenue has become a respite inspired by florals and “architectural garden details such as railings, carved stone planters from the 19th century, and beautiful alleys,” Navet tells AD.

“It is an ode to nature’s wonders,” he elaborates. “I selected a fresh and vibrant palette to celebrate spring in New York.” The resulting floral boxes and benches (a beautiful blur of minty greens, sunny yellows, and sky blues) offer a different kind of garden: something impressionist, rendered, and built on the brand’s artistic ethos, which Navet knows from the ground up.

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Navet’s art installation celebrates spring.

Photo: Courtesy of Van Cleef & Arpels

Beginning in 2020, Navet’s lively trompe l’oeil illustrations were transformed into decor for every major Van Cleef & Arpels flagship. Applying his multidisciplinary practice to the house’s longtime infatuation with florals, what emerged were multiple boutique façades informed by oil pastels, Japanese watercolor techniques, and pencil drawings. For this “Fifth Avenue Blooms” install, Navet tried expanding his technique to “paper cuts and collages,” he explains. On one part of the avenue, a wavy blue-green bench—that people can actually perch on—is surrounded by six-foot flowers. It sits in front of a Gothic church, bringing the idea of rebirth into springy actuality. When asked about what’s inspiring him at the moment, Navet emphasizes that his “new studio is now in the middle of a forest, so [his] connection with nature, flowers, and trees is far from over.”



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