Joana Vasconcelos lives and works in Lisbon. She has been exhibiting regularly since the mid-1990s. Her work became known internationally after her participation in the 51st Venice Biennale in 2005, with the work A Noiva [The Bride] (2001-05). Her creations question women’s place in the contemporary world by honoring Portugal’s artisanal traditions and know-how.
She is the first woman and the youngest artist to exhibit at the Palace of Versailles, in 2012. Highlights of her career include a solo exhibition at Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, the project Trafaria Praia, for the Pavilion of Portugal at the 55th Venice Biennale; the participation in the group exhibition The World Belongs to You at the Palazzo Grassi/François Pinault Foundation, Venice (2011); and her first retrospective, held at the Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon (2010).
Since artists have a visionary and precious vision of the world, Roche Bobois has frequently collaborated with the art world: in 2015, the In-Extérieur exhibition was devoted to Street Art actors and the evolution of their practices in workshops. Since 2017, Fotofever has given Roche Bobois the opportunity to place some of its designs in a dialog with contemporary photography.
In 2018, the UnterLinden museum in Colmar featured the works of Georges Baselitz with selected pieces from Roche Bobois’ collections. In 2019, the meeting with Joana Vasconcelos gave life to a particularly creative reinterpretation of 6 iconic pieces from Roche Bobois’ collections.
In 2019, while visiting the Roche Bobois Lisbon showroom in search of a lamp, Joana Vasconcelos discovered the Mah Jong sofa, designed by Hans Hopfer in 1971. She was born that same year, which she interpreted as a sign: a collaboration began to form.
A few months later, the brand entrusted the artist with six of their designs and gave her carte blanche to reinterpret each piece: two Ava chairs, the Lady B and Nuage armchairs, the Sismic and Cute Cut tables as well as the iconic Mah Jong.
When we approached Joana Vasconcelos to collaborate with Roche Bobois, we had two wishes in mind. Our first intention was to give voice to a contemporary artist who is touching yet surprising, and to offer her to work with an unsual medium of expression: the functional object. But above all, our goal was to offer our clients the chance to bring home a piece of a dream: a creative, flamboyant and delightful collection, an optimistic and quirky version of our French Art de Vivre, as transcended by the eye of Joana Vasconcelos. — Nicolas Roche
In celebration of Roche Bobois’ sixtieth anniversary, Roche Bobois has decided to continue the dialogue with Joana Vasconcelos by asking her to design a line of seating and decorative accessories as the flagship collection of the year.
Maintaining the point of view of an artist rather than a designer, she took on the challenge of designing pieces intended to interact with a wider audience. By transposing her themes and questioning to everyday objects, she offers her vision of the world adapted to the organisation of living spaces.
The end result is a series of multifunctional pieces that are playful, alluring and optimistic.
When I look at these pieces with their curves and winding lines, I see a series of shapes meant for interiors. I wanted to call on the customers’ creativity, I wanted them to feel free to compose with the modules and the choice of colours. I designed these pieces with the hope that people would make them theirs, play with them, while preserving the importance of comfort, and a sense of flavour and joie de vivre. — Joana Vasconcelos