This April at Salone del Mobile in Milan, Roche Bobois unveiled a new collection by Dutch designer Marcel Wanders. Cultured sat down with the iconic design firm’s creative director Nicolas Roche to talk about the collaboration and where the artist draws surreal inspiration from.
Can you tell us about your new collaboration with Marcel Wanders? This is a bit of a fantasy of Marcel’s. He was fascinated by travel and cultures, so he wanted to make a collection that expresses the diversity of the world and that sort of fascination for people who want to go beyond boundaries and explore.
Does the collection revolve around this idea of exploring? It’s a tribute to explorers—rather, the first ones that went to the sky, the Montgolfiers, who invented the hot air balloon. This was the first way invented to travel in the air. The main sofa is a tribute to them, called the Montgolfier.
How else are the Montgolfiers present in the collection? The collection is made around a graphic artwork that he developed. You can really find them almost everywhere in different pieces of it. It’s very poetic, like in Marcel’s imagination. It goes mainly in three cities—London, Paris and Istanbul—and you find it mainly on the carpet. You have the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, the typical Frenchwoman of the 19th century and the Louvre pyramid also. This graphic story you can find on the carpets, the cushions, in many other places. All this is a tribute to traveling.
When did the collaboration start and how did it come about? Two years ago. It really started after talking a lot about this inspiration. Marcel’s team came to us with many, many proposals. Among them we chose maybe 75%. There was another project on the table among many other things so we said, “Okay, this I adore, this is definitely inventory, this fits well…” At the end we have 25 products; we took our time developing because it was worth it.