Select students are now in the midst of the Roche Bobois Design Awards competition. Held in partnership with Parsons School of Design at The New School, the fifth-ever initiative has a theme of “Seating for Eating” this year, asking students in Parsons’ MFA Industrial Design and BFA Product Design programs to create 16 design proposals.
“Whether it is a close partnership with certified or emerging stars, we imagine furniture designed to be functional, to bring about emotion and to respond to the core value of Roche Bobois: design for living, or as we like to call it, French Art de Vivre,” says Nicolas Roche, the brand’s creative director. “With the ambition of always going forward in innovation and new approaches to today’s living, helping young designers emerge is one of our ‘natural’ missions.”
Roche Bobois hosts the competition in a new country every two years in order to discover international emerging design talent.
All of the students will present their final projects this month. Ultimately, one of the designers’ works will be chosen and will be prototyped in Europe and presented during Roche Bobois’s internal Spring 2018 Market. It may also potentially be manufactured for retail. Throughout the process, the company’s reps are providing showroom visits, critiques and input on the projects.
“Consistent with the aims of Parsons Product and Industrial Design programs to interrogate local and global practices and flows of manufacturing and distribution, this collaboration with Roche Bobois provides students an opportunity to innovate with human behavior, fabrication techniques and brand identity,” says Robert Kirkbride, dean of Parsons School of Constructed Environments.
How did the brand choose the theme? “This year’s competition theme, ‘Seating for Eating’ enables our students to conduct focused research on the array of cultural approaches to sharing a meal with the real-world imperative of generating a manufacturable and marketable product in a taut time line,” says Kirkbride.