The radiant furniture collections of Roche Bobois have been a long-time proponent of the titular French style, the art of living a good and beautiful life. Ever since last September you didn’t have to go further than downtown Budapest to see this fascinating style for yourself, courtesy of Solinfo. The Roche Bobois Flagship Store showcases the best of the brand in the heart of the capital’s historic district. Visitors are welcome to inspect the iconic furniture line-up and exciting new releases of the brand at 1000 square meters inside one of Budapest’s many monument buildings. In our latest blog post, Gabriella Bakonyi, manager of the Roche Bobois showroom tells us about the secret behind the brand’s unwavering novelty.
Unique, personal, creative, bold, playful - some of things that come to mind when seeing a Roche Bobois furniture. How did the brand manage to stay fresh even after more than seven decades of its inception?
These characteristics of our brand are the exact reason why we managed to stay relevant throughout the years. Along with the evergreen line-up of our classic collections that stood the test of time, staying as popular as ever among our clients, modern and almost bohemian furniture collections are also thriving not only to follow, but to establish and lead the latest trends in furniture design. Our constant growth is evident in the fact that we release two new collections annually, keeping up the interest of design enthusiasts towards our brand.
Roche Bobois collections are the embodiment of two different, yet complementary visions. What is the relation between these concepts?
All of our collections are realized by adherence to strict guidelines and values. These are prevalent throughout all Roche Bobois furniture collections, and, really, the entire product line-up. These values include quality - European manufacture, high quality materials and a wide range of fabric choices, as well as creativity -, collaboration with renowned designers, and innovation - the research of new materials, technological innovation and eco-friendly manufacture.
Working with great designers has always been an essential part of the Roche Bobois way of thinking. The past years saw collaborations with renowned creators such as Marcel Wanders, Kenzo Takada and Jean-Paul Gaultier. Shared values have also led to a continuous partnership with Missoni.
These collaborations play an important role in our life as they are milestones of furniture design, and they directly influence the market’s perception of the brand. I think it is quite a unique position to have this many designers at hand. Our different fabric collections are easily recognizable and are a faithful representation of the particular designer, while standing perfectly in line with the perceived image of French art de vivre furniture. All these collaborations inject everyday pieces with fresh creative energy, inspiring customers to become bolder and more adventurous in their fabric choices for their furniture.
What are some of the most iconic products of the brand, and what are the most popular?
First, I’d like to mention the iconic Mah Jong modular sofa that celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. To this day, it is one of the most easily recognizable, signature pieces of the Roche Bobois collection. It has seen unceasing popularity ever since its debut in 1971, thanks to its clean form and light playfulness. Second, I wish to include the Bubble collection in this prestigious category as well. Its light, airy appearance and bubble-like shape makes it a popular choice for all ages.
The Mah Jong sofa made an appearance at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony in April - apparently, it is a favorite of the ceremony’s art director and architect David Rockwell. What makes Mah Jong so charming for audiences?
The success of the Mah Jong sofa can be traced back to 1971 when designer Hans Hopfer came up with the square-based elements of the modular sofa, revolutionizing our understanding of this piece of furniture and stealing the heart of design enthusiasts at once. The timeless design of the basic geometric shape has remained unchanged ever since, only its elements became expanded over time to meet the needs of new customers. The brand has a few surprises for this year’s celebration of Mah Jong’s 50th anniversary.
Mah Jong’s diversity is shared among other furniture collections and their accompanying accessory line-up as well. How often do customers choose the complete collection, including all related items, for their homes?
Accessories are getting their own share of time in the limelight lately, as a consistent and thought-through environment results in a much more balanced life at home. Decorational items and fabrics bring unmatched warmth to any space, while our own personality can be represented in the interior via the good use of accessories.
For our clients, we offer complex solutions that include the planning of even the slightest details. Thus, through our home styling services we get the opportunity to tweak each and every corner of the interior to perfection.
Besides interior solutions, Roche Bobois offers its signature, high-quality services for exterior solutions as well. What makes your outdoor products stand out?
Outdoor furniture collections of Roche Bobois are made timeless by the combination of quality and unique design solutions. Just like the indoor collections, the outdoor furniture line-up is also easily customizable while fully withstanding challenges posed by the weather.
Sustainability is an important initiative that permeates the manufacturing processes of Roche Bobois. How exactly does the brand define the term ‘eco-design’ and how is it related to the almost futuristic concept of Eco8?
The brand puts great emphasis on the constant development of manufacturing processes and it seeks to reduce environmental stress through new technologies. Most of Roche Bobois furniture is made of environmentally friendly, sustainable materials, and exclusively in Europe. Collaborating with FCBA, the brand developed its own quality assessment tool, Eco8. Eco8 helps Roche Bobois assess the environmental effects of its products, and it provides insight into some of the measures that can be taken for improvement. Eco-awareness is at top priority when developing new concepts, as well as the reimagination of existing products. Eco8 is based on 8 criteria, in 4 different categories: materials, manufacture, use and re-use. These criteria are given a score of 1 to 4, and the final score is the average of the 8 individual values. A product will be labelled environmentally friendly only if its Eco8 score is equal to or higher than 3.
2021 saw the stunning innovation of the CORAIL concrete table, breaking new grounds in the world of customizable furniture. What should we know about this new, 3D technology?
With this exciting innovation Roche Bobois thrives to re-define the relationship between users and designers. The central footing of the table is made of 3D printed concrete and is 100% customizable. After the “genetic code” of the table - consisting of its dimensions and main characteristics - are loaded in the system, the giant printer is activated. The digitally operated nozzle sprays a layer of ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) until it becomes solid. Another important innovation is the software that can be used by customers at home, or with the help of a salesperson, to design the product: the shape and size of the table, as well as its texture and patterns can be chosen through the software, and the design process can be viewed in real time. The software then exports the “code” that feeds into the 3D printer. This new process has a number of ecological benefits as well: the digital file consisting of the design plans can be easily sent to the United States or any other country, where the central footing of the table can be locally printed at a suitable workshop. This is an obvious reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions as shipping is entirely taken out of the process.
Why is appearance at design exhibitions an important aspect of brand communications?
Roche Bobois makes appearances at international design fairs and exhibitions annually to meet its many partners in the field of interior and furniture design. These exhibitions are perfect for the brand to showcase its latest innovations and the new collaborations with designers.
What were the basic inspirations behind your appearance at this year’s S/ALON BUDAPEST, and who are you looking to approach?
We’d like to provide a deeper insight for general audiences into the Roche Bobois brand and the values and guidelines that shape the workings of the business, including creativity, innovation, quality and tradition. Last summer saw the opening of our downtown, 1000 m2 showroom where the many collections of Roche Bobois represent the aforementioned brand values perfectly. We hope to evoke the same atmosphere at S/ALON BUDAPEST this year.
How would you describe the design process that will result in your S/ALON BUDAPEST interior installation, and what Roche Bobois products can visitors expect to see in person?
It is a forward-thinking design process guided by the well-known stylistic qualities of the brand. We’ll bring some of the iconic pieces of Roche Bobois furniture to the exhibition, along with the latest releases and our outdoor collections.
Come with us to the Budapest Arena between September 24-26, and experience the magic of Roche Bobois firsthand, brought to this year’s S/ALON BUDAPEST by the amazing team at Solinfo!