7 things you didn’t know about Roche Bobois

OCT 13, 2016 | By Sneha Ullal Goel
The iconic Mah Jong Sofa was reimagined by Missoni for Roche Bobois in 2009.
Roche Bobois assertively classifies itself as an “editor” of furniture – it is not a mere distributor, but a perceptive collaborator with equal knowledge of changing needs and tomorrow’s trends. Whether it’s Eero Aarnio’s Ball and Pastilli Chairs symbolic of the design revolution of the ’60s or the customisable Mah Jong Sofa, each product manages to hold its own because of its standout aesthetic as well as its instant connect with the name.
Take a look at seven fascinating facts about Roche Bobois:
1. “Bobois” means nice wood in French. The suffix comes from the name of the Chouchans’ business Au Beau Bois.
2. This story started in Paris with an unlikely friendship between two family run businesses: The Chouchans, Patrick and Jean-Claude, Jewish immigrants from Central Europe and the Roches, Francois and Philippe, from south west France. “The clans first met at a fair in Germany,” explains Nicolas Roche, son of Francois. “They realised they would often buy similar stock from the same manufacturers.” A simple solution arose – instead of being competitive, unifying their acumen would make them better and stronger.
3. A common ad in ELLE magazine set the partnership in stone. This occurred in 1961 while the Chouchans and Roches were still running their own stores.
4. They opened their first store in 1966 on Boulevard Saint-Germain. Pierre Paulin, the architect who built the first Roche Bobois showroom, also designed the company’s first bedroom set that came with a wardrobe and chest of drawers in 1964.
5. To find new creatives, the company holds a competition every two years, the first of which took place in China in 2009. In fact, one of the brand’s proudest new discoveries is Song Wen Zhong from China, who created its premier plastic injection chair, Ava.
6. The 54 year old company wasn’t into luxury then as it is today. While the focus was on constant creativity, they also wanted to cater to the need for economical yet durable products. So they slowly ceased retailing from other manufacturers and began working on their own production by conspiring with the best creative minds.
7. The brand has over 240 stores in 45 countries and is now concentrating on exploring new markets and sustainable development. “We wish to improve the ecological quality of our furniture by avoiding all chemicals,” explains Nicolas. “Our eco-conscious collection is the luxury of tomorrow.”
Also read: Roche Bobois collaborates with fashion house Maison Christian Lacroix