Ligne Roset Opens on West Second

Ligne Roset store opening

These days, shopping on West Second Street is quickly becoming more about home design and less about pricey chemises in miniature sizes. Elbowing in among neighbors Mercury Design Studio, IF+D, and Design Within Reach is worldwide purveyor of modern home furnishings, Ligne Roset, who celebrated their opening here on Thursday night. Founded in 1860 by Antoine Roset, it remains a family-run business that boasts 1,000 retail distributors and 200 exclusive stores. Billed as Ligne Roset's only "concept store", the Austin location is distinguished from their established showrooms in Dallas and Houston by a more hands-on, cash-and-carry opportunity for those new to the brand. With start-up costs higher than ever, it's a savvy gamble, and a measured one, as the Rosets are betting that after one of their lovely Trojan horses makes its place in your downtown aerie (or Central Austin Metro spread) you'll be back for more. I'm betting you will too, as I find myself obsessing over Les Oiseaux, a vase in white molded enameled ceramic with a black bird "beaker'", and the iconic Togo chair, designed in 1973, which reminds one of a 1930's satin comforter. Always a risk-taker, Ligne Roset has championed friendly design, which was rare for conceptual furniture in 1973, when "modern" meant hard plastic, shiny occasional chairs and aorta-shaped light fixtures.

Certainly one reason for Roset's consistency has been smart choices in collaborations with designers like the Bouroullec brothers , who provide us with the practical fancy of "Clouds" for Spring 2009. Teamed with Kvadrat fabrics, these modular fabric tiles can be put together myriad ways, creating everything from wall sculptures to room dividers.

Reimagine the comfort of grandma's sofa in the shape of an amoeba, and you'll see why Ligne Roset finds a great fit in Austin. Modern, but still comforting, these pieces are unmistakably new, but look like they've occupied that spot forever. It's hard to walk away from beautiful, organically shaped furniture in soothing, guest-room blue chenille. Napping may not be allowed in the store, but you'll be fighting the urge, even as you splurge on a makeover for your own napatorium.

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Ligne Roset, Togo, Clouds, Les Oiseaux, Design Within Reach, Mercury Design Studio, Bouroullec brothers

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