Joana Vasconcelos Debuts Pastel Furniture Inspired by Portuguese Sunsets

Roche Bobois' exhibit at Salone del Mobile. Photo by Francesco Merlini


April 27, 2023

Roche Bobois, the esteemed Parisian furniture company, has collaborated with Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos for their colorful, expanded showroom in Milan. Now located in the city’s Durini Design District, the flagship showroom’s latest collection of furniture oozes and undulates with pastels thanks to Vasconcelos’s vision. A powerhouse in the art world, Vasconcelos’s large-scale, mixed media installations have been featured at the Venice Biennale, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Palace of Versailles in France and, most recently, the Dior Fashion Show in Paris Fashion Week.

The showroom, which exceeds 1,700 square feet, emulates sunrises and sunsets through its arrangement. The most prominent collection is BomBom Outdoor, which just premiered at Milan Design Week. It’s a brightly layered, colorblocked offering of sofas, rugs and cushions. Vasconcelos studied the hues of Lisbon’s architecture to come up with the furniture’s soft pinks, blues and yellows, and the colors band and stack on one another to evoke the peaceful gradient of a Portuguese sunset. The curved forms echo the way sunlight bleeds through alleyways and across cobblestones. Each has a sturdy, modular headrest that loungers can move around to offer the best view of dusk from the comfort of their backyard.

Roche Bobois’s expanded showroom in Milan’s Durini Design District.

Roche Bobois accentuates the showroom with curved neon lights, cacti and pebbly, stacked vases that resemble cairns on a hiking trail. They transport you from Portugal to Joshua Tree, all while you remain grounded in Milan. By using a color palette that spans from the Mediterranean to the Southwest, Roche Bobois emphasizes the interconnectedness of nature and culture.

One can find these staples of Roche Bobois’ catalog in the Milan flagship by following a serpentine, 150 foot sculpture that Vasconcelos is exhibiting in the space for one month. Visible from the street, “Valkyrie” is formed with crochet, fringe, lace, ornaments, sequins, and LED lights. It begins with the same pastels as the BomBom Outdoor collection, but transitions into color palettes more suited to other Roche Bobois pieces as it moves from one room to the next. It even hangs over Vasconcelos’s iteration of “Mah Jong,” created in 2019, which features deep, velvety jewel tones and bold, black stripes.

Furniture by Joana Vasconcelos for Roche Bobois in the Milan showroom

Photo by Katharina Plath, courtesy Roche Bobois

The two-story flagship also highlights many staples from Roche Bobois’ Spring-Summer 2023 collection, which embraces many textured glass surfaces. These include “Iroise,” an incandescent, glass table that would refine any dining room, and “Cestello,” a clear cocktail table that exposes its geometric base.

The Roche Bobois showroom is a constantly evolving space, and will reinvent itself with each artist collaboration.