My London: Cemal K. Cemal, owner of Phillo Flowers

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Cemal K. Cemal is the creative and dynamic force behind the most stylish florist in London. Phillo use striking and unusual flowers and foliage in their unique designs and arrangements. Traditional and contemporary compositions all have the unique Phillo magic.

The Phillo shop in verdant Notting Hill is the perfect environment to showcase a stunning array of tropical, exotic and even classical blooms. The clean, uncluttered white space on Chepstow Rd, with its large floor to ceiling, double fronted display windows is a light and airy space allowing the cut flowers and succulent plants to speak and create interest as pieces of art in their own right.

Sharing the shop is Phillo’s brightly coloured, chirpy and charismatic Macaws. Oscar spends his day among the foliage chatting to customers and adding a certain sub-tropical glamour to the environment!

The Phillo philosophy is to buy and use only the best quality flowers, specialising in unusual varieties.

Phillo, meaning ‘Leaf’ in Greek, has a wide and varied clientele in both retail and corporate fields as well as a celebrity clientele. They have contracts supplying decorative floral arrangements to Bobbi Brown cosmetics, Estée Lauder, Diptyque and Net a Porter.

We caught up with Cemal for the latest in our ‘My London’ interview series.


Favourite neighbourhood:

It has to be Notting Hill, I feel like I have spent my life here building up my business and getting to know and understand the locals and what they like. I like wandering around into my favourite specialist shops such as Chloe Alberry on Portobello Road for door knobs and hooks, The Lacy Gallery on Westbourne Grove for antique picture frames and Ottolenghi on Ledbury Road for Cheddar and Pistachio biscuits.


Favourite place for brunch:

The Wolseley on Picadilly – I love the Eggs Benedict


Best coffee in London:

Markus coffee on Connaught Street – when a shop has been roasting their own beans since 1956 it cannot be rivalled – the coffee is so distinct and delicious, I often stop there between jobs, it’s divine.


Favourite gallery or museum:

The V&A – I would like to live there.


Tell us a secret:

I breed and show rare French Canaries – it’s one of the (there are a few) oddest things I do but I love it. Competition keeps the mind in excited.


Favourite place to shop:

Justin Deakin – 22 Hanbury Street Shoreditch, when you wear a Justin Deakin shoe you feel special – the best handmade men’s shoes in London.


Favourite place to find inspiration:

My work and designs have always been influenced by architecture and interiors, I am spoilt for choice in London.


Best London destination for a date:

Saint Katherine’s Dock – its sooooo romantic especially in the summer.


Favourite park:

Holland Park – I love the resident Peacocks that are often seen wandering the streets outside the park, I just love seeing the seasons change in there, it’s a small oasis with so many little elements.


Favourite food market:

Borough market – I could easily eat everything and I probably have.


Your sanctuary in the city:

The Chelsea Physic garden – it has the most interesting collection of unusual plants in such a small space. Medicinal and herbal plants are grown in abundance, a real treat for the senses.


What inspires you?

I take a lot of inspiration from structures and how they are built and then furnished from modern office buildings around London to homes in Cities and in the country – I like to design something no matter what the space.


This season I’m loving:

Having trained previously as a Geneticist I am drawn to the new varieties of Tulips at this time of year, I get excited every year, whether they are frilled, parrot, striped or pointy, the Dutch breeders continue to amaze me with what they can produce from clever breeding.


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