Flowers and floral arrangements are an integral part of the decor at most restaurants. They can be subtle, quiet, and almost unnoticeable, save for a delicate fragrance. They can be loud, egocentric, and pungent, stealing your attention as you're escorted to your table.
In Miami Beach, the Setai's director of food and beverage operations, Julien Labays, stresses the importance of displaying beautiful flowers at the tony hotel's restaurants and throughout the rest of the property. “Upholding the tradition of flower arrangements around our property, especially in the dining areas, is quite important to us," he says. "Our displays propagate a specific emotional connection that adds to the property’s overall sense of warmth and unparalleled hospitality. Because we are so well known for our displays of 500 roses in both the Art Deco and Residential Tower lobby areas, it places more of an emphasis for us to carry that through in [our restaurant] Jaya and the Courtyard, particularly for our holiday events.”
Veronique Touboul, co-owner of French Floral Designs in Miami, agrees. “There’s so much behind the flowers," she says. "It’s your heart.”
In a few short years since opening, French Floral Designs has caught the eyes of Miami’s elite. Touboul and her husband Christophe create masterpieces for special events, homes, and businesses such as the Delano South Beach, Shore Club South Beach, Porsche Design Tower, and Four Seasons Hotel Miami.
“They are kind of more romantic,” Touboul says of her unique, French-inspired creations. "Tone-on-tone colors, delicate and elegant. That’s the French culture.”
Touboul, age 49, moved to Miami from her native France in 2013. She studied at Miami’s Yola Guz School of Floral Design and is an accredited member of the American Institute of Floral Designers. In 2017, she was honored by the website Expertise as one of the "Top 20 Best Floral Designers in Miami."
From modest bouquets to six-foot-tall works of art, Touboul's pieces are crafted from natural elements such as flowers, plants, sticks, leaves, branches, and feathers. She also integrates manmade elements like figurines or the colored wire and Plexiglas tubes she uses for orchid designs.
“We wire the stem of the plant with colored wires,” she says of her modern take on the bamboo sticks that are typically used to prop up orchid blooms. “It makes the arrangement more interesting and more contemporary.”
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Touboul credits her success to her artistic vibe and old-fashioned hard work. “We’ve sacrificed ourselves for our business because we really want to make it work,” she says of the time she and Christophe dedicate to the shop. “We missed Christmas with our own kids to be able to do flowers for other people and a wedding on the beach on the 25th in the morning.”
French Floral Designs will move in early 2019 to a busier location, where Tuoboul will expand her custom design offerings to include loose flowers and premade bouquets. Most important, she wants to continue to touch people’s lives.
“That’s the great beauty of working with flowers,” she says. “It’s the art of giving yourself away — giving a bit of yourself, a bit of your heart, to whoever comes across your life.”
French Floral Designs. 2200 NE 123rd St., North Miami; 305-893-7076; frenchfloraldesigns.com.