When Antoine Roset first opened his wood factory in 1860, he couldn’t possibly have foreseen the beauty he would share with the world. And yet 180 years later, his legacy of wooden umbrellas has been transformed into one of the most successful design houses in French history. Ligne Roset is at once the guardians and innovators behind stylish French living, with their bestselling Ploum and Togo Sofas among some of the most recognizable designs of all time.
At the helm are Michel and Antoine and their two sons, Michel and Olivier Roset. Having opened more than 200 stores worldwide, the family retains 100% of the business, a feat which Olivier claims is what lends their creative flexibility.
To celebrate the start of the Ligne Roset Spring Promotion at Chaplins (10% off the entire collection and 15% off the Ploum Sofa) we sat down with Olivier Roset to find out what makes this iconic company tick.
1) Legacy is a very important word when thinking about Ligne Roset, and I imagine it means a lot to you as well. What convinced you to take up your position as General Manager? Was it always in the cards for you or had you ever considered taking another route?
I do think that legacy is important but having different professional experiences is also a “must”. For this reason, I spent 7 years in the private equity world between London and Paris. It was a time of training and intense learning and meant that I made my first mistakes outside of our company. To be honest, nothing was planned: one night, 10 years ago, I was talking with my dad and my uncle and we decided it was the right time for me to try my hand in the family business.
2) The world is obviously a very different place to the one in which Antoine Roset started manufacturing walking sticks. That being said, are there any traditions or rules you still abide by that your father or older family members insisted upon?
For sure worlds are different but DNA of the company remains the same. First and foremost is to respect and develop the know-how and craftsmanship of our Ligne Roset people.
Second is to be creative and innovative, as well as remaining involved and engaged in every project that is undertaken, you have to know what is happening at every level.
Third, is to try and develop the quality of creation, production and distribution while maintaining our unique edge and standards. These are the Ligne Roset codes of conduct.
3) One thing I’ve always admired is the company’s “can do” attitude. If the materials or techniques don’t exist yet to fulfil the design brief, you’ll scour the globe until you find someone who can bring them to fruition. What new technologies is the company looking into at the moment?
As you said, the “can do” mentality and the innovation are the DNA, the key to our company. We try not to be followers but to humbly create the trend. When you think about the Paipaï Sofa by LucidiPevere or the Ploum by the Bouroullec Brothers, they represent the qualities that cannot be replicated anywhere else — innovation, creativity and a deep-rooted production know-how that stretches back centuries. The fusion of these things is the best way to ensure your work can never be copied by anyone else.
But it’s hard to be both a creative and a leader. That’s the work of my father, Michel Roset, who works closely alongside the designers we collaborate with. Each year, at the fairs, designers and the press expect that there will be something new and creative in our collections: we’re known for that.
4) The 2018 Ligne Roset collection was a real highlight of this year’s IMM Cologne for us. Can you tell us about a few of your favourite pieces from this year’s collection? How do they sit next to icons like the Togo and Ploum Sofas?
In my opinion, Paipaï by LucidiPevere will be the next icon. Why? Because its unseen, creative, comfortable and technically very complex. The press is already in love with Paipaï, and we were thrilled to receive the Design Prize of IMM Cologne for it.
Striking too is the Geoffrey Mirror by Alain Gilles. It’s a generous and beautiful piece that has never been attempted before in that form.
5) In 2013, the company made the decision to stop exhibiting in Milan and focus on the Cologne and Paris Trade Fairs. What is it about the fair in Germany that resonates so much with the company? Do you ever see yourselves going back to Milan?
Milan, for sure, we shall be back. When? It’s a surprise! IMM Germany and Ligne Roset is an old love story that started in the 60’s. Ligne Roset is very strong in Germany: some Germans even thought that Ligne Roset is a German brand! The German market represents 25% of our global turnover. Germany is also important for our stores in Russia, PECO, Eastern Europe. We have more than 100 stores in Germany, a subsidiary based in Freiburg, and 20 owned stores. So yes, Germany and Eastern Europe have always been strategic for us.
6) There can be no doubt that Ligne Roset has revolutionized relaxation forever. Through innovative, democratic design, you have become an emblem of stylish European living. What would you like design enthusiasts to know about the company’s future plans and goals?
We hope to remain a leader in the retail contemporary high-end furniture business all while continuing to develop the contract side of the business. Nowadays, that represents 10 to 15% of our turnover.
We also want to continue to develop our e-business with our dealers, while anticipating and adapting to the huge changes in customer behaviours.
Oh yeah, and to remain creative, sexy and conquering for the next 100 hundred years!
To see some of these gorgeous pieces up close, pop down to our Hatch End showroom where we’re proud to have an entire Ligne Roset studio on display. There’s no need to make an appointment, simply turn up and park in our large free car park out back. So whether you’re shopping for a new designer bed or you’re in need of some interior inspiration, you’ll find all of it and more under one roof at Chaplins.
GET 15% OFF THE PLOUM SOFA WHEN YOU ORDER IN MOBY FABRIC
AND 10% OFF THE REST OF THE ENTIRE LIGNE ROSET COLLECTION