Roche Bobois Owner Reveals Why Your Furniture Should Be Personalized Art

The owner of Roche Bobois Vancouver explains why your home’s furniture should be custom-made just the way you like it.

(Photo courtesy of Roche Bobois)
(Photo courtesy of Roche Bobois)

The journey of the luxury consumer today is about personalization.

“Luxury to me is a lifestyle,” says Ray Deleurme, co-owner of Roche Bobois in Vancouver and Calgary. “It’s a private product instead of a price point, and also something of great value in terms of quality, look and feel.”

But seeking out the world’s best design and craftsmanship, which can often be hidden from the mainstream, seems like a fun, yet far too time-consuming mission. That’s why the Luxury Home & Design Show — hosted by our sister media, Taste of Life — was established. Now you can touch, see and fully experience world-class workmanship in Vancouver. Deleurme will have a booth for Roche Bobois at the show.

“We’re going to have a casual, fun look in terms of our booth,” he says. Part of the enjoyment of Roche Bobois furniture is the near infinite selection of colours, styles, and leathers.

(Photo courtesy of Roche Bobois)

“Very seldom will two people in the same city have the same sofa, the same leather, the same colour, because the designs are changing all the time,” he says.

Made to perfection

Deleurme remembers clearly his first experience with Roche Bobois. He and his wife were in Montreal 15 years ago and walked by a Roche Bobois store between their hotel and a jazz club. Intrigued by what they saw through the window, they entered the store.

“Wow, this is different,” he remembers thinking. “Probably 90 percent of the collection caught our eye, versus just one or two pieces. We pretty much fell in love with all the product there.”

Roche Bobois embodies that personalized journey in luxury with not just a handful of options but literally thousands of choices, from designs to fabrics to colours. Roughly 90 percent of its sales are made-to-order.

(Photo courtesy of Roche Bobois)
(Photo courtesy of Roche Bobois)

“Everything is custom-made for you, nothing sits on the shelf,” he says. “One type of leather could have over 100 colours. It’s pretty close to being endless.”

While all the furniture is handcrafted in Europe, mainly in France and Italy, Roche Bobois works with designers from Canada, Japan, China, France, Italy — everywhere, says Deleurme. The company even occasionally hosts global design competitions in its “ongoing, never-ending” search for the world’s best talent.

Every six months, Deleurme goes to the Congress of Roche Bobois in France, where he chooses product from 50,000 square feet of new inventory.

Every six months, Deleurme goes to the Congress of Roche Bobois in France, where he chooses product from 50,000 square feet of new inventory. The brand’s commitment to its artistic integrity and constant innovation is well worth it.

Many clients who come to Roche Bobois’ showroom say, “Oh, I feel like I’m in a museum,” he says. “If you’re looking for one piece or every piece in your home to remind you of art, that’s really what the store is about.”

Equally important, though often overlooked with such exquisite design, is Roche Bobois’ legacy of exceptional craftsmanship. While other luxury brands decided to manufacture products in China, Roche Bobois didn’t.

“I think that’s probably one of the biggest differentiators for us… that the company has made a decision not to go that route,” he says. “For example, the factory that does our French traditional furniture, the guy who does all the patina and finishing work is third-generation. It’s all done by hand. The leather sofas are all hand-stitched or machine-stitched, but still with somebody operating it, not a robot.”

Even with world-class craftsmanship at his stores, Deleurme says there’s a cultural, educational process that needs to happen in North America. In Calgary, for example, people buy huge cars and homes, but don’t necessarily consider furniture a luxury item.

“They will look at a handbag or a Land Rover as being a luxury good, but not necessarily their sofa,” he says. “But I think as people travel and see more, and we get to be more worldly as a society, that’s certainly helped people understand.”

“You can have a beautiful home, but if you don’t furnish it properly, it will be a nice house but not a nice home.”-Ray Deleurme

That’s why Deleurme thinks the Luxury Home & Design Show is special — it’s an opportunity for people to experience firsthand the beauty, comfort and quality of his stores’ furniture.

“You can have a beautiful home, but if you don’t furnish it properly, it will be a nice house but not a nice home,” he says.

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