We love the spirit of Spain!

Jon Clarke meets the French boss of the coast's leading furniture brand Roche Bobois as it launches a charity project for Africa

LAST UPDATED: 16 Sep, 2016 @ 07:16
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Roche Bobois CEO Gilles Bonan
Roche Bobois CEO Gilles Bonan

IT was during a teenage trip on a moped around Spain that François Roche fell in love with the Spanish.

Travelling around with a tent for three months, the young Parisian furniture designer really got a taste for its beauty and it’s people.

‘It’s why we launched our first shops in Spain even before Franco died,” explains Roche Bobois CEO Gilles Bonan. “It came well before London and we have always done very well here.

“I remember François telling me about his adventures here and his love of the country and its spirit.”

Indeed, the quality French brand, which was born in the 1950s, has over 20 shops around the country, including one in Marbella.

“It’s the third most important for us but only just after Barcelona and Madrid,” reveals Bonan, a well travelled executive who speaks good English and Spanish having studied at university.

“And it is rising all the time now – particularly with all the super wealthy families who don’t just buy one sofa but kit their whole houses out with our furniture.”

To celebrate the success of their growth in Spain, the company has collaborated with a raft of top Spanish designers to create ten bespoke versions of their iconic Mah Jong sofa.

With the aim to raise money for orphans in Africa, the sofas designed by names such as Rossy de Palma and Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, are set to be auctioned later this year.

The company was an amalgamation of two rival design families in Paris.

“They were so competitive,” explains Bonan, “that they originally could not agree on whose name should come first.

“So for their first few adverts they interchanged with the name Roche first, then Bobois first.”





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