Design

Giant mobile cushions upholstered in eye-catching fabric — The Mah Jong sofa

“I’m always looking for things that will pass the test of time,” Charles Armand Turpin says as he surveys his Roche Bobois Mah Jong “sectional” (a grouping of giant mobile cushions, many of them upholstered in eye-catching Missoni fabrics). It is the signature piece inside his Aylmer home.

Charles Armand Turpin reconfigures his Mah Jong sofa according to his mood and how it will be used. Photo: Photoluxstudio.com — Christian Lalonde
Charles Armand Turpin reconfigures his Mah Jong sofa according to his mood and how it will be used. Photo: Photoluxstudio.com — Christian Lalonde

Designed in the 1970s by Hans Hopfer, this is lounge seating as its comfiest and is a cornerstone of the Roche Bobois line.

A portrait of painter-sculptor-designer Hans Hopfer, who came up with the signature sofa in 1971
A portrait of painter-sculptor-designer Hans Hopfer, who came up with the signature sofa in 1971

The modular seating system is at once playful, bright, and inviting — and Charles can move the pieces around at will to remake the room. He can stack them in two layers, resulting in seating that’s a conventional height, or in a single layer to create a giant bed. “On long winter weekends,” he says, “it’s a playground.”

The off-white prototypes for the Mah Jong, designed to be combined and stacked
The off-white prototypes for the Mah Jong, designed to be combined and stacked

He will often doze off while watching CNN. He’s stepdad to several kids, and when they visit, they can all sleep on the couch. Dinner guests, meanwhile, can simply move from the table to the sofa for a snooze if they’ve enjoyed a few glasses of wine.

 The Mah Jong sofa in Italy’s Missoni Home
The Mah Jong sofa in Italy’s Missoni Home

Before he brought in the couches, says Charles, the room “felt cold and didn’t have any character. All the colours make it fun.” Pink lighting and an attention-grabbing ceiling sculpture add to the ambience. But this room is also about taking the time to slow down and relax. “I meditate,” says Charles, whose energy is infectious and abundant.

“I have to.”

The exuberant stripes of the fabric created in collaboration with Italy’s Missoni Home. (Roche Bobois has also teamed up with designers Kenzo Takada and Jean Paul Gaultier, who have created graphic fabrics for the Mah Jong.)
The exuberant stripes of the fabric created in collaboration with Italy’s Missoni Home. (Roche Bobois has also teamed up with designers Kenzo Takada and Jean Paul Gaultier, who have created graphic fabrics for the Mah Jong.)