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Design August, 2 2010

Curated Q&A | Antoine Roset of Ligne Roset

Founded in 1860 by Antoine Roset in Briord, France, Ligne Roset has grown to a multinational design force. With factories still headquartered in France, the brand maintains 200 exclusive retail outlets world wide.

Celebrating 150 years, Ligne Roset is the only “issuer/manufacturer/distributor” of high-end French Furniture. Over first 100 years, the firm progressed from a small chair manufacturing plant into a leader in international design. Through the ’50s and ’60s, Ligne Roset experienced a period of profound growth, building to the later quarter of the 20th-century during which the company built new trade in avant-garde design. From that point, Ligne Roset has traded in the “International Art of Living,” providing furnishings to please both the eye and the spirit.

The great-great-grandson, and namesake of the founder, Antoine Roset, now serves as Executive Vice President of Roset USA. His career began outside the company, working with luxury watchmaker IWC in Paris. After three years with IWC, Roset rejoined the family, moving to New York to manage Ligne Roset’s North American operations.

Having covered the anniversary products (here and here), I felt it worth connecting with Antoine Roset to learn more about his history within the family business. We discussed technology and memorable designs. Head to the jump to view archival images and read Antoine Roset’s answers. The question and answer session is just a brief entree into the Ligne Roset world, but enough to give a sense of legacy and heritage.

CR: When did you first become aware of design?

AR: Really, I grew up with design. Only later did I realize it would become so important for me.

CR: Obviously Ligne Roset is a family business, at what point did you decide to join?

AR: My father proposed to me a sales manager position based in NYC four years ago; it was difficult to say no to NYC, even if I thought it was maybe too early to join the family business.

CR: Outside of the company, how do you learn about new designs or designers? What inspires you?

AR: I read books, go to museums and art shows and pay attention to detail when I am visiting interesting spaces – restaurant, stores – looking to objects. It is an on going process.

CR: Technology, in my view, is pivotal to the history of Ligne Roset. The confluence of manufacture and designer quite important to output. What are some of the moments, in manufacture, that have proved instrumental in Ligne Roset’s longevity?

AR: Technology has always been a important part of our production process. We are proud of our manufacturing, the high end technology we’ve been able to use and develop, and the know-how of our team.

The Facett chair is one of the best examples of how important technology is to us. The Bouroullec brothers came with the idea of Facett after a visit to the factory- they were impressed by one of our sewing robot. For them it was clear that this machine was a way to push our design further.


CR: How do you keep abreast of technology today? Keep, so to speak, on the cutting edge of manufacture?

AR: We have professionals, engineers who are acutely aware of what’s going on in this market. They are now working a technological watch cell.

CR: Ligne Roset furniture plays a great role in a variety of interiors – homes, museums, offices, restaurants – and these are housed in many different types of buildings. To what extent has the company been engaged with new trends in architecture? And, as a furniture manufacturer how important is it for design to balance on all fronts, to form a total work of art?

AR: I think this comes naturally. We are doing what we like and we try to do our best to develop design. We have been able to follow and create some tendencies or trends, for example Togo, and naturally some of our pieces are fitting interiors of homes, museums, restaurant. It’s important to work on different fronts because you can’t afford to be focused on only one today.

CR: In your view, what are some of the most memorable Ligne Roset products over the 150 year history?

AR: Definitely the Togo created in 1972, but it is difficult for me to list all of the most memorable products- I don’t want to forget anyone.


CR: The most memorable designers?

AR: We have been working with so many talented designers. They are all memorable in my eyes.

CR: How were the anniversary products chosen?

AR: My uncle chose the Pumpkin and the Lines sideboard because both of these products are really loved by the public. The first thing we wanted to do was to thank the Ligne Roset lover.

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