Growing up in a design-driven family, creative director Nicolas Roche has had fond memories of being surrounded by iconic design. One particular seat from Roche Bobois was the most memorable: “We had a Mah Jong sofa covered in a simple grey fabric. You could play with its configurations; we were making pyramids with the huge cushions, so it became a wonderful playground for us.”
The former architect joined Roche Bobois in 2005; under his charge, the French brand has moved towards an eco-conscious direction. “As a leader in the furniture industry, we feel obliged to meet these environmental standards,” says Roche. “We won’t say that we’re perfect but we’re doing our utmost to be as environmentally responsible as possible.”
During his recent visit to Singapore, he tells us more about the brand’s creative collaborations and its latest collections.
Tell us more about the brand’s design philosophy.
Nicolas Roche (NR) We want to create designs that people cannot find elsewhere; most of our pieces have a strong identity, silhouette and a graphic strength that you can readily identify.
Our pieces have a strong identity, silhouette and a graphic strength that you can readily identify
Have you always planned on joining the family business?
NR No, not at all. My dream was to become an architect so that’s what I did. In 2005, my father and uncle started thinking about retiring. They asked if I would like to take care of the development of new collections. After being an architect for 20 years, I agreed to join the family business.
How does your training as an architect influence your design process?
NR As an architect, I’m trained to deal with functional uses of objects and technical problems of design. An architect can work for a specific customer who tells you the budget and purpose of the project but when you work for a furniture manufacturer, you don’t personally know the customers; you have to anticipate the trends and their needs.