Hans Hopfer's iconic Mah Jong sofa turns 50 this year, and manufacturer Roche Bobois is celebrating the milestone with yet more creative takes on the existing palette whose dynamic expression is already bursting at the seams.
Named for the venerated stacking tile game, Mah Jong is brilliantly simple: comprised of just a handful of pillowy (yet firm) modular pieces, the sofa can be arranged into a veritable cornucopia of configurations. When first introduced (and when I first encountered it) the palette was quite sedate. The mid 80s-version I knew was a creamy white with pastel-colored piping, but Roche Bobois quickly realized that the sofa's modular nature could be used to more dramatic aesthetic effect.
Hence, the exuberant explosion of different colors and patterns and the endlessly inventive ways in which these colors and patterns have been contrasted, matched, and juxtaposed over the years.
The images here showcase inspired 50th. anniversary designs by Kenzo Takada, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Missoni Home.
Not to be constrained to a single collection, each designer has contributed multiple compositions: from Takada's "Hiru-Kenzo" that takes inspiration from the elaborate and ancient kimono costumes used in the Noh theater, to Gaultier's fascinating and eclectic agglomeration of leather and fabric (shown in order below).
All Roch Bobois Mah Jong sofa cushions are made by hand in a dedicated workshop using haute couture methods, but that in no way precludes user experimentation and creativity. Roche Bobois long ago realized, just as its many clients did, that the genius herein lies in the astounding mix-and-match potential, as decades of users have applied the sofa's facility for change-ups to make cool compositions of their very own, as in this inspired oversized version by MIDCENTURYLA.
Looks like the ultimate pizza-party sofa to me. What other events might Roche Bobois' Mah Jong summon to fruition?
A last addition of note: the 50th. anniversary version includes an optional hard platform for a firmer surface and more formal look.
Explore more at Roche Bobois.