I don’t care if it’s cliché, I love French stuff. Croissants, Monet, Macron (the French prime minister married to a woman older than he), laissez-faire, au contraire, carte blanche–it’s a long list that’s about to get longer since global, luxury furniture brand Roche Bobois opened a new showroom in downtown Sarasota.
If you don’t know the name Roche Bobois, you may know the look. The brand’s signature pieces include the Mah Jong sofa, “a best-selling icon for the past 50 years,” says Julien Bigan, general manager for Roche Bobois Southeast. The sofa is close to the ground and reminiscent of a conversation pit if you get the whole wraparound set. Roche Bobois is also known for its “Bubble” sofas and armchairs, which are “a little younger at heart,” says Bigan. Indeed, they evoke fun and resemble an inverted raspberry with rounded subsections.
The Sarasota location marks the brand’s fifth in Florida, and the first on its west coast– a Naples location is on the horizon.
Why here and now?
“For some years now, we’ve been taking care of our clients in Chicago, Washington, Boston and New York and shipping a lot to the Sarasota area,” Bigan says. “That was a clear indicator there are many clients here.”
Typically, the region was considered a part-time getaway for Roche Bobois clients who had second homes. “But I have to say that more of these people have moved here permanently and are turning it into their main home,” Bigan says. And with Tampa and St. Petersburg nearby, the new Sarasota location serves a convenient “tri-area,” he adds.
Plus, the new 7,000-square-foot Fruitville Road store backs into the artistic and posh Rosemary District, and sits right across from its luxury furniture competitor Soft Square—“coincidentally creating a little design district,” he says. “It’s good because it will be the same clients.”
And with all the nearby multimillion-dollar condos going up, residents will have the cash and space to outfit their new homes with Roche Bobois’ contemporary, artful pieces. Sofas range from $10,000 to $40,000, depending on size and choice of fabric or leather. Customization offers a vivid menu of colors, from verde giada (Italian for “green jade”) to the ubiquitous neutral grays Sarasota interiors can’t seem to shake.
Inside, you’ll see a lot of natural wood, color and dramatic black walls for a contemporary but warm vibe. The space also features a design studio where clients can get help with consultations, including advanced 3D renderings, because “people can be CEOs of companies but maybe just don’t know how a couch can look in their space,” Bigan says. “They bring in their floorplan—or we can often find it for them.”
Roche Bobois pieces are special-order products, with every piece made in either Italy, France or Portugal, and shipped to a warehouse in Miami or a smaller one in Sarasota. Bigan says regular wait times range from three to four months and, depending on customization, sometimes six to seven months. There is, however, a quick-ship program for best sellers.
The new showroom is open to the public and located at 1515 Fruitville Road, in downtown Sarasota. Click here for more information.