above > antoine roset / jose rodriguez
[designapplause] we’re told that ligne roset is getting into the contract/commercial business space because of the company’s manufacturing capabilities. do you wish to tell us that story?
[antoine roset] actually, the funny part is that we started with the contract business. we’ve always been doing it in europe, back when the roset company started in 1860. with my grandfather in charge the first thing we did as a manufacturer was contract, working with universities, dorms, both institutional as well as hospitality projects. contract and hospitality was in fact our first business category.
we then moved to residential in the 1960s believing we could better control our own distribution and grow our business. during the 1980s, in the u.s., we developed our brand in residential much more than the contract business. we did this furnishing apartments, giving americans access to our design. for the past four years i see an opportunity to reintroduce our contract expertise in the u.s. and in latin america as well. i feel confident in knowing our past experience and manufacturing could again position our company as major player in contract and hospitality.
with our design, engineering and manufacturing capabilities we again have in the u.s. both residential and contract offerings.
[da] i just met the new owner of the chicago showroom, jose rodriguez. is there a new story regarding the chicago showroom?
[ar] i think the story to tell about jose and this showroom is a human story. we like to say when you become an owner, you get to be part of the family. jose has been in this business with us forever. the first time i met him was like 10-11 years ago and we had promoted him as a manager in miami. he became the owner of the atlanta store 5 years ago. and now, he’s here in the chicago store. to show that it’s a human story it’s about jose being a natural as a new owner. and he also possesses an ability to showcase a new service and a different experience. and as such, something much closer to what we have in mind, namely a new store. a new display. very much like what you can see all around the world with the new stores we are doing and renovating. in chicago, you’re going to see the best of what we do right now.
[da] alright, that’s cool. anything else you want to talk about?
[ar] i can talk about everything you want as long as it’s about furniture. i’ve always been very interested in markets and we can talk about the chicago market a little bit more. we’ve been at this location for 10 years and have learned that chicago’s a very interesting and important market. why? chicago is a very modern city with depth as you can see by its architecture. it’s always been very turned towards the future and not to the past. that’s what makes it very attractive to me. for me, it’s probably the nicest city in the u.s. you can quote me on that. (maybe after new york where i live. let’s put it that way.) chicago is green. it’s a beautiful city. there are two rivers, the lake. i don’t care about cold weather, so it’s not a problem for me. when you’re here you can feel that people really like to talk about the architecture here. i mean look, neocon is here and not in las vegas.
[da] right, neocon. and a new contract message and what appears to be a new store in what is a tremendously convenient offsite location.
[ar] yes. we’re definitely going to use this location more and more. we made mention last year, slowly but surely. the idea is to communicate with the contact world and the hospitality world, sharing with them. we are not the big, big player and we don’t want to be either. we don’t want to compete with them. we want to be the small player that can bring something different. that can give different options. that can give what we do the most: our quality, our knowledge. we are happy to share this with everyone. we have no intention of ignoring our residential business, make no mistake. but more and more, we are going to develop things around the contract and the hospitality business. it’s only the second year. this year has been a bit crazy because we are reopening the store and doing neocon at the same time. so it’s been quite challenging, but next year…
[da] then next year will be boring. (laughs)
[ar] hah! next year won’t be boring. next year will be even more interesting. we’ll have more time to prepare for neocon which is even better. we’re going to look forward to next year.
above/below > chicago showroom