In 1950, French businessman Jacques Roche opened a furniture store on Rue de Lyon in the center of Paris, and was later joined by his two sons, Philippe and François. At the same time in the same city, Patrick and Jean-Claude Chouchan established a furniture store of their own on Boulevard Sébastopol, Au Beau Bois. The future business partners didn’t meet until 1960 at the Scandinavian Furniture Fair, held annually in Copenhagen. Deciding to go into business together, the Roche and Couchan families co-designed their first collection of furniture, introducing both their brand and the Nordic aesthetic
to the French market. The following year, a nationwide advertising campaign was launched through Elle magazine, as well as a new brand identity formed from both sides’ names: Roche Bobois.
Coinciding with the arrival of the television in many homes, the 1970s marked the beginning of a new era in furniture design: the (figurative and literal) centrality of the sofa
. Capitalizing on increased demand for comfortable sofas and loungers, Roche Bobois collaborated with artist-designer Hans Hopfer, who designed a modular seating system for the French company. The Mah Jong Sofa (1971) epitomized the growing importance of relaxation in the home and the informalization of furniture. It was composed of three separate pieces and, based on the user’s preference, the Mah Jong could morph into a sofa, a lounge chair
, or a bed. To this day, it is Roche Bobois’ best-selling sofa.
Roche Bobois continued to create innovative furniture, including the collections Les Provinciales (1980s) which was inspired by traditional French furniture and Les Voyages (1990s), which looked outward to France’s former colonies, and was designed in response to a growing demand for ethnic style furniture.
Today, Roche Bobois counts over 250 stores in 50 different countries, with furniture collections spanning sofas, armchairs
, cocktail tables
, dining chairs
, beds, and accessories including lighting
, and rugs
. Over the decades Roche Bobois has collaborated with many important contemporary designers including Ora Ito, Cédric Ragot, Sacha Lakic, Christophe Delcourt, and Stephen Burks, as well renowned fashion houses as such as Jean Paul Gaultier (for its 50th anniversary), Sonia Rykiel, and Missoni.