The Mah Jong – Starring Roles in Art and Culture - The Gloss Magazine

The Mah Jong – Starring Roles in Art and Culture

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

This year, Roche Bobois celebrates 50 years of the Mah Jong sofa. Designed in 1971, the Mah Jong sofa was born from the meeting of Philippe Roche, co-founder of the Roche Bobois brand and 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 modularity and creativity.

With the Mah Jong, Hans Hopfer imagined a sofa that champions complete freedom of form and function. Starting with three basic elements that can be combined or stacked together, the Mah Jong allows limitless options of compositions, ranging from simple to highly complex. This versatility is what makes it 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.

The Mah Jong has played a starring role in art and culture, as a striking design and iconic shape. Inspiring fashion houses such as Missoni, Jean Paul Gaultier and Kenzo Takada, the modular furniture installation flirts with celebrity every so often. All of these collections are available via Roche Bobois in Beacon South Quarter, Dublin 18. Below are a selection of pop culture moments in which the sofa played a starring role.


Roche Bobois was proud to be a part of the 93rd Oscars that took place on April 25th in Union Station, Los Angeles. In collaboration with Rockwell Group, Roche Bobois furnished an exclusive, sophisticated and whimsical outdoor space for Oscar nominees and presenters.

The multi-tiered VIP lounge embodied a cool colour palette inspired by the existing tile work inside Union Station. All around the space, various composition of the Mah Jong Outdoor modular seating along with CUTE CUT cocktail tables were displayed for nominees to relax and unwind pre- and post-show. Fresh and silk florals with lantern lighting created a luminous canopy above the patio’s jacaranda trees. A series of large, wooden Oscar silhouettes bordered the courtyard, each filled with its own floral display.


In 2016, Roche Bobois invited eight artists selected by international magazine ArtReview to create a work inspired by the Mah Jong for a charity auction in London. At this event, entitled “8 x 8 Mah Jong Re-imagined”, Cornelia Baltes, George Eksts, Joby Williamson, Larry Achiampong (pictured below), Pio Abad (pictured above), Patrizio Di Massimo, Lauren Godfrey and Peter Liversidge reinterpreted the iconic cushions and transformed them into unique works of art. As part of the event, the French furniture brand produced a movie featuring the Mah Jong sofa. The movie, shot at the Palais Brongniart in Paris, features women dressed like synchronised swimmers playfully rearranging segments of the modular Mah Jong sofa into the shape of a swimming pool.


Over the years, the Mah Jong has enjoyed roles in the everyday lives of some of the world’s biggest superstars – in their highly- photographed homes. A custom Mah Jong, featuring patterns by Gaultier and Missoni, lives in Gigi Hadid’s and Zayn Malik’s New York apartment. While pregnant, the supermodel enlisted the help of architectural expert Gordon Kahn to renovate her NYC nest, and made the Mah Jong a focus of her colourful, cosy living room, pictured below. Elsewhere, an enormous custom Mah Jong sofa, dressed entirely in bold Breton-stripe-inspired Gaultier, takes centre stage in world famous rapper Drake’s Miami condominium, above.

Roche Bobois’ Mah Jong collections are available via Roche Bobois in Beacon South Quarter, Dublin 18. Contact (01) 653 1650 for details.


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