There are some objects that are so unique, so definitive, the sight of even the most miniscule detail betrays the maker’s name. Legendary sources of style—be it designers, distributors or retailers—understand this to such an acute degree, they respond to these intangibles not academically, but intuitively. More importantly, they bring them to life for the rest of us. Roche Bobois and Jean Paul Gaultier are two such epic purveyors. Recently (you might sigh, “finally”) the two engaged in a creative trust representing their individual traditions of sublime taste. The catalyst, Roche Bobois’ 50th anniversary, inclined the company to reassert its mission of bringing “design for living” to clients’ homes. Thus their “Ten Commandments,” a collaboration of the world’s foremost designers that would express Roche Bobois’ established principle of luxury furniture syncing with customer’s needs and at the same time express how their traditions will resonate into the future. Enter the heroics of one ultra-glamorous romantic of the fashion world: Jean Paul Gaultier. It is this poetic collection that is charged with the first two of Roche Bobois’ “Commandments.” Emblematic, sophisticated, harmonizing both modern and antique elements and rich with the whimsy and sensuality of Mah-Jong couture, these pieces are like déjà-vu, familiar, and yet, not. The functionality of the collection is apparent, as is the casual feeling, rendering it suitable for city or suburban dwellings. Without compromising the magic of the compilation, we went to the source of the drama:
Long Island Pulse: Jean Paul Gaultier is an iconic fashion house, but perhaps not known as well as other furniture designers, what led Roche Bobois to choosing him as a premier design partner on the project?
Roche Bobois: Roche Bobois, like Jean Paul Gaultier, are two brands that express luxury, quality and fashion. Even though Jean Paul Gaultier is not as wellknown as other furniture designers, the two brands embrace the same qualities so they work well together.
LIP: What motivated the use of Mah-Jong couture as a design theme for “Commandment #1: Thou shalt encourage an awakening of the senses and of the intellect?”
Jean Paul Gaultier: The Mah-Jong is an iconic piece for Roche Bobois. The Mah-Jong expresses Jean Paul Gaultier’s selection of fabrics well and magnifies the fabrics to create a wonderful display of imagery and style.
LIP. How did the decision to include the “kiss” pattern come about?
JPG: The kiss pattern is an iconic Gaultier pattern that has been used on Gaultier’s iconic garments. [We] wanted to include this pattern because of the connection to our fashion.
LIP: How does the color palette correspond to your fashion designs?
JPG: The color palette in the Marine Mah-Jong exemplifies stripes, which I often use in fashion. I always use blues, blushes and off-whites, which I have translated in the collection.
LIP. How does “Commandment #2: Thou shalt offer mobility and lightness in lavish measure,” work as a design tenet?
RB: The surprise of the Jean Paul Gaultier collection is that all of the pieces are mobile. They were created with wheels to be moveable to allow the consumer to change their space all the time. One does not have to walk into the same room twice.
LIP. How does the collection fit with the heritage of Roche Bobois?
RB: The selection fit is traditional for Roche Bobois as far as the collection is made up of a bedroom, armoire, chests and seating. But the innovation and creativity of the pieces creates a unique spot in the Roche Bobois collections.
LIP: Jean Paul, is this your first foray into furniture? Do you see an ovation?
JPG: This is not my first foray into furniture. Eighteen years ago, I did some pieces including the Ben Hur chair. But with Roche Bobois this collection is less expensive allowing more people to enjoy it. Do I see an ovation? It is like a love story you never know how it will end…
Martin Gleize, head of international development, was interviewed on behalf of Roche Bobois. To speak with someone directly regarding this collection, contact their Long Island store at 1180 Northern Boulevard in Manhasset.