kevinkoskiPHOTO | NicheMedia | Capital File | Michael Lanni

Michael Lanni is obsessed.

Lanni, the owner of the avant-guard florist shop VOLANNI, is obsessing over the details of the last 5 minutes of our conversation. It seems he, like others, (lately, as I’ve come to find out, in this city) are standing on the cusp of something amazing, that everyone wants, but not everyone knows what “it” is. You see, both of us are hip to the notion that Washington DC is “our nation’s capital”, but we both know and see that it’s so much more than that. I sat down with Michael in his South East studio this past week and we chatted about the direction of art, culture and DC as a creative hub for the world and the nation, and it seems we (as District Creatives) have a lot in common.

During our conversation, he explained to me that what he does is so much more than just arranging flowers and catering to peoples ideas. “I work with people and create an elaborate story with my arrangements, and make their event/wedding/special day/whathaveyou, even better.” Indeed, as Volanni in the past 5 years, has quickly become one of this city’s (and the nation’s) top names for event floral arrangements, amazing, out-of-the-box thinking for floral design, and just an over the top “idea man” for others trying to make it here, as well. Lanni believes in a creative theory that attempts to make new, rather than take completely from the past, and although he thinks that it’s somewhat important to know about ways that others may have approached the same problems, that it’s more important to realize that “it’s not the 60’s, or the 80’s or even the 90’s anymore. It’s 2007 and we need to address what 2007 is about.”

Born in the wonderfully peaceful utopia known as Detroit, Michigan, Michael had full-blooded Italian parents who gave him the opportunity to visit and study in Italy, which is where he really developed his spirituality, his meditation, and his methodology in what he does to this day. After Italy, Lanni lived in California and lived as a Yogi and fine tuned his inner self. Shortly thereafter, all of the collaborated efforts finally came together as he relocated to Ashville, NC, and met and worked alongside Perri Crutcher. It was then that Lanni knew he had found his life’s work. And for the past seven years, Lanni has lived, worked and build his company from the ground up, here in Washington DC, and has made the collaborated efforts of his life studies and his love for flowers, his passion.

“And that’s really what it’s all about,” he explains, “Washington is the heartbeat of America, and it’s time for us, as creative people in this great, progressive thinking city, to come forward and make people think about Art as the culture and tone that sets this town.” “People shouldn’t have to go to a big name store to get a processed piece of art to hang over their mantle or couch, you know? People in DC are smart, and have so much talent here, and we should be able to put out a new “vibe”, in DC, a new way to have people open their eyes and see that this is not just an uber-politico think tank, but it is it’s own vibrant art scene.” “I bring energy and creativity to every thing and job that I approach, and so many other people do as well in this city, and it’s time for us to show the rest of the country, that the late years in the 2000s can be something special, and we should begin and end the conversation with the town of Washington DC.”

An old boss once repeated the mantra, “Keep fighting the good fight…”, and never is that notion more true than when talking with Michael Lanni. He never puts the one client above another, and at the end of the day, is the most concerned with getting “his story” told. He is a passionate and energetic figure, but he’s just one of this many that this website is glad to get involved, and feature. He may be obsessed, but he’s obsessed about his career that he loves, and his life that is full, and is surrounding him with beautiful floral arrangements. We should all be so lucky. -kk