Mah Jong Anyone?

Mah Jong Anyone?

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.

Mah Jong Missoni textiles varied solis, wavy lines, shimmery fabrics

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.

Cushion textiles detail

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.

Missoni design with mix of solids and floral patterns

The images here showcase inspired 50th. anniversary designs by Kenzo Takada, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Missoni Home.

Kenzo Takada Mah Jong eclectic colors in room with lattice screens

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).

Hiru-Kenzo style seen from above
Gaultier version in mixed fabric and leather

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.

Mid Century L.A. oversized Mah Jong

Looks like the ultimate pizza-party sofa to me. What other events might Roche Bobois’ Mah Jong summon to fruition?

Missoni composition atop striped blue and purple rug in room with slanted glass ceiling

A last addition of note: the 50th. anniversary version includes an optional hard platform for a firmer surface and more formal look.

Mah Jong with new hard platforms

Explore more at Roche Bobois.

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