Ligne Roset looks great for 160. Founded in 1860, the French furniture company is building on over a century and a half of history to foster a spirit of innovation in technology and manufacturing, not to mention design. Today, a holistic understanding of sustainability – encompassing everything from the design process to green manufacturing and employee wellness – is at the forefront of Ligne Roset’s mandate, with the company drawing on its storied past as a wellspring of continued evolution.
In the 19th century, Ligne Roset’s roots were set down when Antoine Roset and his son Emile began a small business manufacturing walking sticks, umbrellas and chair frames. By 1950, the growing family business set its sights on contract furniture, before taking on the residential market a decade later, all under the leadership of Antoine’s grandson Jean.
Ligne Roset as we know it today began in 1973. That year saw both the introduction of the Ligne Roset brand name, as well as the launch of Michel Ducaroy’s iconic Togo sofa. The elegantly – and slightly audaciously – unstructured form’s pillowy softness lends it an instantly recognizable presence that still draws the eye with an air of unbridled joy.
In 2020, the Togo lives on as a full collection of seating – ranging from discrete ottomans and fireside chairs to a showpiece sofa. While the design remains faithful to Ducaroy’s vision, the Togo is now manufactured in a cutting-edge facility that prioritizes recycling, low emissions and non-toxic materials, as well as workplace wellness for Ligne Roset’s factory employees.
It all starts in Briord. Still the locus of all Ligne Roset operations, the French village is now home to one of Europe’s most advanced manufacturing complexes. All furniture is produced in line with FCBA-certified forest-friendly wood, while sophisticated UV acrylic varnishes are used to minimize air pollution and create furnishings entirely free of the biocides, heavy metals and halogenated compounds typically found in furniture varnishes. The result is a carefully mitigated environmental footprint in Briord – and healthier homes the world over.
“For us, sustainable development begins with the pleasure we derive from working in such a remarkable location such as Briord, France. When one has the good fortune to grow and develop in an environment of such quality, one naturally wants to protect it,” says Pierre Roset, President of Ligne Roset. “As the Roset Company developed, we have generated less and less pollution due to our own vigilance, and by the demands we make on both our suppliers and ourselves.”
At Briord, approximately 56 per cent of all factory waste is recycled, including all foam, cartons, leathers, fabrics, wadding, polyethylene, and paper. In the winter, Ligne Roset’s cabinetry factory is even heated with an oven that utilizes remaining wood scraps – which are too small to be efficiently recycled – as fuel.
But the heart of the company is its workers. Ligne Roset’s expert craftspeople finish nearly all furnishings by hand, with new employees trained in a comprehensive one-year apprenticeship program that ensures the company’s meticulous standards are passed on from generation to generation. To ensure workplace wellness, facilities are equipped with industry-best noise abatement and dust filtration – far exceeding EU standards – while workstation ergonomics are also continuously refined. In addition, an in-house day-care complex offers a vital resource for employees with children. (Sometimes, the French really do it better).
The commitment to workplace wellness fosters a social sustainability that drives the company in the 21st century – but it matters from a design perspective too. The manual production methods and meticulous attention to detail lend Ligne Roset furnishings a distinctly refined sense of craftsmanship.
The playful Plumy sofa is case in point. Designed by Annie Hiéronimus in 1980, Plumy channels the exuberant spirit of the 80s while retaining a timeless grace. The uniquely designed structure of the goose feather and down-filled armchairs and settees requires a bespoke manufacturing process, where blocks of polyether foam and Bultex polyurethane foam in varying densities are carefully glued together before being finished in a series of clean stitches.
The distinctive sense of craft seamlessly translates to contemporary designs. For example, Philippe Nigro’s new Phileas seating collection owes much of its graceful proportions to the elegant vertical quilting that stretches across the seats and backrests. It’s signature Ligne Roset.
In the 21st century, the company has maintained the identity of a family business while innovating for the future. Although Ligne Roset now boasts a global footprint of showrooms and distribution, the company continues to be defined by a human-centric ethos that emphasizes sustainability and wellness. It’s a holistic approach that’s ahead of its time – and 160 years in the making.
This content was published by Azure on behalf of Ligne Roset.
As the storied French company celebrates a major milestone, it continues to innovate for a sustainable future.