Fashion Meets Furniture: The Iconic Roche Bobois Mah Jong Sofa - The Gloss Magazine
3 weeks ago

Fashion Meets Furniture: The Iconic Roche Bobois Mah Jong Sofa

This year, iconic French furniture company Roche Bobois celebrates 50 years of its famous, fabulous Mah Jong sofa.

Cool, bohemian and lots of fun, the Mah Jong, designed in 1971 was the result of a meeting of Philippe Roche, visionary entrepreneur, and Hans Hopfer, a design genius able to capture and anticipate our changing lifestyles with great creativity. Avant-garde at the time of its creation, and an iconic piece today, this sofa is a pure expression of freedom and has long been a benchmark in terms of design modularity and creativity.

Hans Hopfer imagined a modular sofa that allows complete freedom of form and function. Starting with three basic elements that can be combined or stacked together, the Mah Jong allows limitless options for composition, from simple to highly complex. This versatility is what makes the Mah Jong unique. By playing freely with the elements, the user becomes the designer of his or her own sofa. The Mah Jong can be an armchair, sofa, lounge chair, bed or living area.

Over its 50-year history, artists, designers, and creative collaborators have been inspired by this innovative and unique furniture installation, resulting in distinct, unique and utterly glamorous sofa. The Mah Jong has been dressed in vibrant patterns, paired with fruity cushions, covered in seashells, upholstered in sailor stripes … the only limit the wild imaginations of their talented creators. All are available via Roche Bobois in Beacon South Quarter, Dublin 18. Which of these four Mah Jongs do you like best?


Italian fashion house Missoni combined exuberant fashion flair and exquisite fabrics for its Missoni Mah Jong. Jacquards, impressionist motifs, floral designs and chevron pattern bounce off each other, enhanced by a platform in walnut tones. The immediately identifiable zigzag patterns, clashing thrillingly with deep pinks, reds and browns, are timeless.


Free and daring in his approach, Japanese designer Kenzo Takada – “the most Parisian of Japanese designers” – created exceptional fabrics to dress the Mah Jong. His creation reflects the hallmarks of his style: East meets West, colour mastery,and subtle patterns. His Mah Jong Umi  – Umi means “sea” in Japanese – combines blues, greys and greens to evoke the ocean, marrying multiple floral and geometric designs with a variety of textures.


Jean Paul Gaultier created an exclusive design for the Mah Jong which reflects his customary humour – he dressed the sofa in his iconic sailor stripes. His is a sophisticated and slightly offbeat design that effortlessly connects the worlds of fashion and furniture. Featuring Gaultier’s striking French colour scheme, this Mah Jong sofa breaks with convention in an elegant, sophisticated way.


In 2019, visual artist Joana Vasconcelos, whose works have been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, and the Palace of Versailles in France, created an exceptional one-of-a-kind reinterpretation of the Mah Jong in bright colours accented with a black stripe. By adding organically shaped cushions in delectable candy colours, she lent the Mah Jong a joyful, comfortable and striking personality. These one-off pieces were exhibited in Miami as part of the Art Basel 2019 international contemporary art fair, and were then auctioned off, with all proceeds going to the Joana Vasconcelos Foundation.

All three of these Mah Jong collections and the Bombom Sofas are available to order via Roche Bobois in Beacon South Quarter, Dublin 18. Contact (01) 653 1650 for details.


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