Firstly, an apology as I've been meaning to write up Ligne Roset (a contemporary Italian-French furniture company) for donkey's years. Ah well, better late than never. Hopefully no one's going to read this, fall into a rage, and then smash up the furniture they've bought in the meantime.
Let's face it, yer Huf Haus has such amazing natural light and cat-swinging space, that it's an ideal gallery in which to show off decent furniture. Looking at the many eye-candy pictures of Huf Haus interiors that we find on the Web and in the magazines, it seems that Claudia and I are not alone when it comes to our taste for mixing our furniture styles up. To our eyes (your tastes can and will differ) nowt looks better than a mélange of contemporary, classical and even ethnic furniture, side by side, because somehow the clash of styles allows each piece to stand on its own two feet.
Or four feet.
For my sins, back at the turn of the millenium, I spent a year or two living in the fair city of Luxembourg. A surprisingly nice place, but of course somewhat limited in the excitement stakes. Nevertheless, there were enough colleagues and friends around at the time to generate enough fun, high-jinx and mayhem for me to recall my Lux stint as one of life's high-points.
I arrived there (as oft happens to we ex-pats) for "just a few weeks" and then quickly figured out that I'd be there "much longer", and therefore would be "needing an apartment". And that apartment would "need furnishing"...
(Let's fast forward...zzzzzzzzzzzip)
...so of course my newly acquired apartment would need some decent furniture. It just so happened that there was one of the few Habitats outside of the UK right there on the door step, so my credit card got a bit of a pounding. But then I wanted a few items that would be... just a bit nicer... than what Shabby-tat had to offer.
Sooooooo, in some fancy furniture shop close to Grand Rue (sort of Lux's version of Bond Street) I spotted an amazing glass coffee table, hyper-ventilated at the price, bought it anyway, and took the catalogue home to scratch and sniff at the other wonders therein... and so started my love affair with all things Ligne Roset.
So why, amongst the oodles of contemporary posh furniture manufacturers do I offer you Ligne Roset?
Well, 'cos over the years I've noticed that lesser brands shameless copy Ligne Roset classics using cheaper materials, physically scaled down to fit the shoe-box sized rooms of yer typical house, and stamp 'em out in China (or wherever) by the thousands and charge... well, to be honest the rip-offs are cheaper, but not exactly a tenth of the price of the originals. Typically a half or a third of the price for smaller versions badly made out of far less durable materials. So yes, I'd heartily recommend that when you have a chance to pop into a Ligne Roset store that you have that walk round, grab this year's catalogue (some people avidly collect the catalogues like stamps, I kid you not) and see if they're for you and yours.
So what follows is a short roll call of what's caught my eye over the years, some of which Claudia and I are living with now, some of which we'll buy when we get round to it... and some of which'll have to remain on the lust list because there's no logical place to put it.
So let's start off with the Smala sofa, a pair of which Claudia and I nearly bought just before Rafael was born. Costs are about three and a half grand for the big three-seater and two and a half for its two-seater little brother.
And that's a hocker you see in the corner of the photo. The sides and backs of the sofas have clever mechanisms so that they can be incrementally raised and lowered either for comic effect, or, more realistically, so that they can be fully flattened out into sofa beds. Achingly cool, and available in a zillion colours, fabrics and also leather for the fetishists. Reason we didn't buy? Someone with some experience of parenthood (Rafael would be our first child) pointed out the potential for baby-sick, chocolate and melted biscuits to somewhat spoil the look and finish of said sofas. So we bought a cheaper throwaway corner sofa until the detritus associated with our kids has safely dried up.
We can wait. But until then... drooooooooooool.
Ok, so this is what happens when yer act against your instincts and use the left-side of yer brain (the brainy side) to rationalise a delay; the right-side of your brain (the fickle side) changes its mind. Or does it? Too fickle to tell...
So I present you the Togo sofa system, available either as corner unit combinations, or as separate sofas, etc etc etc. Costs are about three and a half grand for a three-piece corner combo. And of course it's available in more colours than Joseph's coat. Why's it caught my eye? Well apart from looking like the comfy-est sofa available anywhere. Period. I turns out that it is the comfy-est sofa. Ever. Period. So there.
Your cat will love you forever. And then some.
Ok, so for just under four hundred quid, we have the Good Morning side table. Sounds like a chinese cigarette brand. Bonkers name, but thankfully it's not written anywhere so yer visitors don't have to know.
This is one of two side tables that Frau Capucho and I have in consideration at the moment.
While it seems to defy the laws of gravity, it's clearly not quite toddler-proof. However, our youngest Alexandro (we have three boys) is now nearly four, and seems to have passed the "lets give that table a nudge to see if it (and the big vase of flowers on top) will come crashing down strewing flowers and associated green water all over the lounge" phase...
...or perhaps we go with the Thot instead. Say wot? Yep, another comedy name in the vein of "Thor? THOR? I'm tho thor I can hardly pith!"
Nevertheless, a smoothly modern design available at a Ligne Roset store near you (or someone you've read about in the papers) for give or take four hundred quid.
Ok, so here's one for which we actually coughed up good money; no regrets.
We spent about two thousand quid around ten years ago for a two metre unit to go under our big telly. It's still looking strong, clean, neat and (most importantly) capacious (those drawers are huge) seeing as we have those zillions of CDs and DVDs that yer seem to accumulate.
And look at those feet! Actually, you can't 'cos it's a crap photo. But if you could you'd recognise them because they're so copied that they've become a bit of a cliché. Look for them in Ikea or wherever, and once you start noticing them you'll never stop. A bit like humming that song... can't stop yerself.
Anyways, it's the prototype, the original, the real deal and I never get tired of looking at it, or its brethren, in the Ligne Roset shop.
We didn't buy the Bianco dining table, but oh how I wish we had. Nay, we will! This is another modern design classic copied outrageously by others. Costs about two and a half grand, and it's soooo very clever that it hurts. The table slides smoothly apart in't middle (have a close butchers at the photo) in such a way that your dinner guests will applaud loudly. Although you probably should have set the table before they arrived.
Still if they did see the expansion then they'd be well impressed.
Our current dining table is a 2.4m cherry-wood dream that we bought to fit into our old house, which simply doesn't fit under the viewing gallery space above it. Basically, it's too nice to replace, but needs replacing anyway. Leave this one with me, and I'll continue to erode my beautiful wife's objections.
Might take years.
Well, we can't have the dining table (pah! just you wait!) but we can bloody well have the chairs. So we have ten. They cost three hundred quid a pop, are comfortable, cool, strong, wipe-clean (kids), and for an extra fifty quid you can have moo-moo cow-hide in place of the coloured leather. Yep, two of our chairs are cow-hide and they look great!
Now you should understand that the Swiss are very particular about designer chairs (dunno why, but they are) so they can happily chat about just about every modern (and old) designer that ever bent a piece of metal into a seat. However, these Fils chairs never fail to impress, and I do rather enjoy them mentally trawling through their design catalogues before arriving at... the name of the wrong designer. Hah!
Kenny Everett voice: It's Ligne Roset, you fools!
And here's the Everywhere take on the home office desk, a mere bagatelle at one and half thousand quid.
Not yet bought, but it will be any time soon. Shall wait for the wife's birthday to come around, so (shh) let's keep it to ourselves, eh? And have a look at the feet under the drawer unit, 'cos that's the design cliché I was referring to before. Look!
Do you see 'em? Do ya?
Last but not least, we have the Mama standing light. Almost a daft name, but still within acceptable limits of naming credibility.
This is another Ligne Roset classic that graces our home, and it's lighting up me and my iPad as I finish typing this post. Ok, so it's six hundred quid, but what price for (yet again, this is getting embarassing) an oft copied modern design classic. What's so clever about this (one does so like clever things) is that the metal hangy-over bit slides back over the metal standy-up bit so that it can be converted from hangy-over to standy-up.
Oh for god's sake have a look at the photo because written words don't describe this very well.
My written words, anyway.
That's all for now, and see you all next time.