Artists, celebrities, and high design converge for a one-of-a-kind furniture collection created by Roche Bobois with philanthropy in mind.
Miami artist Ahol Sniffs Glue applying his signature eye design.
To celebrate the intersection between high design and fine art, Ocean Drive teams up with French furniture house Roche Bobois this year to host what promises to be one of the most spirited and talked-about events of the Art Basel season. “It’s always been in the DNA of the brand to align with the fashion world,” says Julien Bigan, communications director for Roche Bobois in the US. “But this year, we’re looking at the creative links with street art and classical music to elevate the brand to another level.”
Inspired by an artistic collaboration the company launched in Belgium earlier this year, Roche Bobois asked six artists and celebrities to transform its iconic Furtif desk into singular pieces of art, which will be showcased at the exclusive event at the retailer’s temporary warehouse space in Wynwood. Designed by French furniture designer Daniel Rode, the angular, clean-lined desk looks like a sculptural work of art in itself and serves as an ideal canvas “for the creative expression of the artists and celebrities,” says Bigan.
Illustrator Santiago Rubino foregoes the use of color in much of his work, and his Roche Bobois linear creation is no exception.
The resulting pieces will be auctioned off through an online platform with proceeds going to Lotus House, a Miami-based nonprofit organization that supports homeless women and children, and to UNICEF. Lotus House’s newest shelter, Lotus Village, recently broke ground; the new facility is expected to permanently house 500 homeless women and children in Miami’s historic Overtown neighborhood. Among the high-profile artists participating in the collaboration are Miami-bred Santiago Rubino, Ahol Sniffs Glue, Typoe, and Los Angeles-based Kelly "RISK" Gravel. (The California artist, along with his graffiti art, appears in an upcoming film called Vandal, a coming-of-age story set in the graffiti-tagging scene of Miami.)
The Roche Bobois Furtif desk as designed by artist Typoe.
Kelly "RISK" Gravel will also treat the star-studded crowd to an exclusive live performance during the event, held both inside the 2,000-square-foot warehouse and in its 5,000-square-foot outdoor space. Says Typoe, a multidisciplinary artist whose practice plays upon the constant tension between the dark recesses of the urban underground and the shimmering bling of celebrity, "It was a gift to be able to respond to this pre-existing shape using some of my own forms. I like the idea of a challenge and how to look at an already made object in a new light. I wanted to completely change the function of the desk." Typoe’s work evolves in response to a given situation or environment and he often works with gunpowder, fire, plastic, spray paint, and found objects—in this case he used wood and house paint. "I have participated in fundraisers for Lotus House before and I really love what they stand for and that is community. Miami is really important to me and if everyone does their part, we can mold this city into anything we want it to be."
Heidi Klum poses with her colorful custom Roche Bobois creation, which will be auctioned off to support Unicef.
In addition, tennis superstar Venus Williams will apply her touch to one of the desks with personal diary musings and layers of glass and fabrics, as will supermodel television producer Heidi Klum, who joins Williams and the artists at the celebration, where food, drinks, and music will be served to 300 socialites and special guests. (Klum’s proceeds from the auction will benefit UNICEF.)
Venus Williams designed her desk with layers of glass and fabrics juxtaposed with diary musings.
All desks are available to bid on starting in mid-November. The private event takes place on November 29; the exhibition will be open to the public during Art Basel week. To see more of Roche Bobois’s furnishings and collaborations after the exhibition closes, visit its newest location in Midtown on 36th Street and Biscayne Boulevard when it opens in February next year. To make a bid on any of the desks, visit oceandrive.com.
The Roche Bobois pop-up space is located at 282 NW 25th St., Miami. Participate in the auction (starting November 9) online at biddingforgood.com; mobile users can head to bforg.com.