De­sign

LIGNE ROSET

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Contents -

The his­tory of French brand Ligne Roset, why we love de­sign hero Michele de Luc­chi and a cul­tural chin­wag with Si­mon Wal­lis OBE, di­rec­tor of The Hep­worth Wake­field

Known for mak­ing cut­ting-edge fur­ni­ture by the world’s top young tal­ents, this French firm has been in­no­vat­ing ever since it was founded in 1860 Most peo­ple fa­mil­iar with Ligne Roset as­so­ciate the brand with one piece: the 1973 ‘Togo’ sofa by Michel Du­caroy (above) – it was the brand’s first launch un­der its cur­rent name and is now re­garded as an icon of 1970s style. Far fewer know that the com­pany’s ori­gins go back to 1860, when 19-year-old An­toine Roset opened a wood-pro­cess­ing fac­tory near France’s Swiss border, in an area known for its beech forests. To be­gin with, Roset made walk­ing sticks and para­sol han­dles, but when para­sols went out of fash­ion, he turned his hand to mak­ing chair frames in­stead. By the time An­toine’s son Emile took over in 1910, the firm was mak­ing cane seat­ing – and in 1936, it pro­duced its first up­hol­stered chairs.

Emile died in 1946. Un­der his heir, Jean Roset in the 1960s, the brand re­ally be­gan to flex its de­sign mus­cles. Its cat­a­logues from the pe­riod show brightly coloured lounge fur­ni­ture in fash­ion­able lin­ear shapes. Em­bold­ened by their suc­cess, Jean shifted his fo­cus to the do­mes­tic mar­ket in 1973, re­nam­ing his com­pany Ligne Roset and open­ing

Ligne Roset’s 2017 range in­cludes strik­ing de­signs by more new names, in­clud­ing a stylish take on the sofa bed

a se­ries of re­tail stores. A com­mit­ment to cham­pi­oning the work of young de­sign­ers com­menced when Jean picked out Michel Du­caroy, a re­cent grad­u­ate, to cre­ate the ‘Togo’ sofa.

The 1960s and 70s saw Ligne Roset cap­i­talise on its cool cre­den­tials with a se­ries of Pop-style seat­ing de­signs – in­clud­ing Bernard Gau­vin’s ‘As­mara’, a se­ries of un­du­lat­ing loung­ing is­lands – and trendily shot ad­ver­tis­ing (right). This pe­riod also saw Jean’s sons, Pierre and Michel, join the firm – they are now CEO and gen­eral man­ager re­spec­tively.

Ligne Roset’s 2017 range in­cludes strik­ing de­signs by more new names – such as Ukraine’s Kateryna Sokolova, whose ‘Ox­i­da­tion’ ta­bles ( be­low) are made of pati­nated metal and Tus­can stone – and Ger­man duo Müller & Wulff, whose ‘Ber­lin Loft’ (right) is a stylish take on the sofa bed. As al­ways, the pieces are all true orig­i­nals ( ligne-roset.com/uk).

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