Floors and surfaces can make or break a room. Just ask Alexis and Franck Nataf of Exquisite Surfaces. The brothers founded the company with their mother, Paula, just over 20 years ago, with a focus on providing high-quality flooring and accents with serious style.
Last year, Exquisite Surfaces opened its Miami showroom in Wynwood. As a nod to the neighborhood’s now-iconic art walls, they created their own kind of design statement with a wall of tiles—a surface material that has become more and more popular.
Whitewaller talks with Alexis and Franck about the design trends they’re here for, and their environmentally focused Choose to Reuse campaign.
WHITEWALLER: You founded Exquisite Surfaces with your mother, Paula, in 1997. In over 20 years, has your mission expanded from your original core values of tradition, style, and service?
ALEXIS NATAF: We have always continued with those core values, but as we grew as a business and as people, different values have expanded. We now value the environment in every decision we make, and that is why we started our Choose to Reuse campaign to help with construction waste.
WW: Can you tell us more about your Reuse sustainability service for clients?
FRANCK NATAF: Unfortunately, due to the heavy usage of adhesives in today’s installation, floors are no longer reusable. A floor that is glued down cannot be salvaged. Construction waste is massive and will be even greater if we cannot recycle. Our Choose to Reuse initiative is trying to raise awareness to this issue and, hopefully, people will install without the use of adhesives like we did many years ago.
WW: How do surfaces reveal the beauty and potential of a space?
FN: I believe hard surfaces, especially floors, are the soul of a space. They start the conversation, whether it’s a centuries-old wood parquet floor or a handmade decorative tile from Morocco.
WW: Can you tell us about the Miami showroom, which opened in 2017 in Wynwood, designed with Commune?
AN: After years of looking for the right location in Florida to open a showroom, we felt that the Wynwood Art District in Miami would be the best place for us. We wanted to create a space that felt like a home so that our clients can envision our products in their homes, but also keep with the tradition of Miami and Wynwood by using bright colors and creating a huge wall of tiles to create our own “Wynwood Wall.”
WW: You also recently celebrated a 20th anniversary, creating the “E/S 20” tile collection in collaboration with 20 designers. What do you enjoy most about collaborating with designers?
FN: The artists had to come up with their own design on a type of tile that has been manufactured for over a century.
AN: I enjoy working together, explaining to these amazing designers the history of these tiles and how they are made, and then watching them using their creativity to come up with something so unique. It’s very inspirational.
WW: It seems like tile is having a resurgence. Where are you excited to see more tile?
AN: I’m excited to see more tiles everywhere in the residential and commercial space, as they add so much character to a space. But I’m also excited to see more tiles in the art world, as they can be a great tool to any artist.
WW: We’ve seen a huge uptick in the use of stone. Where do you see this trend going next?
FN: I don’t see the use of stone declining. A lot of companies now are creating porcelain alternatives to stone. But in my opinion, porcelain is no match to natural stone. It may look similar in the beginning, but stone is real and patinas through time.