UAE: Roche Bobois held a reception at its Sheikh Zayed Road showroom in Dubai, recently to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its Mah Jong sofa collection.
Designed by the now deceased Hans Hopfer in 1971, the ‘free form’ modular seating can be used as an armchair, sofa, lounge chair or bed made of three basic elements that can be set at angles or overlaid.
Over the years the furniture manufacturer has collaborated with various designers to change the fabric of the seating including textiles created by Kenzo Maison, Missoni Home and Jean Paul Gaultier.
Ahmed Hassani, managing director, Roche Bobois said the Mah Jong is still one of its best sellers to date and remains popular with customers who buy the pieces to use in a Majlis environment.
“The Mah Jong is handmade in Italy using processes similar to those of the Haute Couture fashion industry,” said Hassani.
“Each component is individually hand-stitched using a method similar to mattress-making. The three basic elements can be stacked, aligned with each other and grouped into a seat cushion, straight back or corner. Customers can play with the shape and height to create a corner sofa, straight sofa or armless chair or day bed.”
At the reception in Dubai was French industrial designer Sacha Lakic, who has created furniture for Roche Bobois including the Onda and Speed Up collection, Equinox armchair, Dyna table, Script and Transition sofa.
“The Speed Up collection comes from my passion for cars and motorcycles. I designed a number of pieces that look like they are in motion. It’s my way of giving a soul to the product,” he said.
“Everything I do is with 100% passion. I try not to be polluted by the outside world as I don’t want to be influenced by that as it kills my passion. I am trying to bring something new to the fore, something unexpected that will surprise people.
I am trying to make smart products in a smart way, designing something timeless, which can be kept forever and not thrown away. I am not interested in trends, but timeless quality.”
Lakic works with a team of seven designers from his studio, Sacha Lakic Design, in Luxembourg.
He has worked on projects with French sports car manufacturer, Venturi and plans to diversify his portfolio next year including architecture and fashion accessories such as watches.
Among the people he credits for giving him inspiration includes Leoh Ming Pei commonly known as I. M. Pei, a Chinese American architect, often called a master of modern architecture.
He designs two collections a year for Roche Bobois.