Rocky Rochon Furniture’s “Body Parts” Collection has turned heads, especially a version of the Frame Chair on which a framed portrait replaces the cushion back. This is the kind of inventive flexibility and redefining of classic pieces that designer Rocky Rochon envisioned in creating the upholstered line of furniture.
Conceptually, Body Parts is meant to take the feeling of an antique piece and redefine how it’s done with current materials. The physical premise is that each type of seating has basic footprints for its ‘seat’ and that by interchanging the attached components, such as an arm, leg or back, the design can be transformed. Launched in Seattle, the line is now available at the new Rocky Rochon Studio in the West Hollywood Design District at 306 N. Robertson Boulevard, and online at Rocky Rochon Studio.
Just as the designer created a line of color-engineered paints, The Paint Laboratory, to solve the evergreen problem of how a paint’s color shifts depending on the light source, Rochon launched Body Parts to resolve the need for a change of function or style by a client over time. The collection begins with ‘base units’ from which to work – for designers and clients.
“As a designer I am constantly thinking about the problem-solution process,” says Rochon. “The ability to update a favorite piece of furniture is a unique solution. People typically think their only options are to fully reupholster or buy new when they want a refresh. Body Parts adapts this process by offering a more versatile solution. You can have your favorite piece of furniture and a completely new aesthetic.”
How it Works: A dining chair has a seat that is often sized 15’’x15’’ up to 18’’x18’’, a loveseat 30’’x60’’, or a sofa 78’’x30’’. That seat can be tightly upholstered or have a loose cushion, it can be tufted, welted, etc. These base units can have attachments added to them, such as a particular type of leg, arm, or back. The base units have universal mounting locations at the underside of them, which allow for a variety of ‘add-ons’ that are invisibly attached without compromising the upholstery. This enables the pieces to morph into different designs or forms, to the point of changing its complete function. For example, a love seat sofa back can be detached from its base seat and be interchanged with a queen bed base and become a queen bed, or the aforementioned photo-backed chair, creating a completely different seating experience. Hence….’Body Parts’.
The following collection pieces are now in the LA showroom, with new floor samples arriving monthly: Louis Lounge Chairs, Parlor Sofa, Tuxedo Sofa, Sectional Sofa, Geometry Daybed, Tuxedo Bed, and the Frame Side Chair. Manufactured in Los Angeles, the current approximate turnaround time for a piece (depending on any special elements) is 8-12 weeks, and any piece can be customized per the Body Parts concept. Rocky Rochon Studio also has its own line of leathers, and is also working on its own collection of fabrics; but clients may supply their own fabric or leather selections for customization.
“The Frame Chair with the portrait as the seat back is my favorite. It really embodies the original concept of the line: to be innovative and return to being romantic; and to rethink a piece’s construction to make it more current, while dipping into the past for inspiration,” notes Rochon. “The portrait chair is striking because the backing is a 15th c. painting by Sandro Boticelli, but it’s a digital recreation, and held up by one sleek arm of steel. It’s the perfect mix!”
Though launched in 2019, the concept has been germinating for almost 25 years. Rochon was designing a set of chairs for a husband and wife, with the wife’s “Mrs.” chair being a reinvention of a traditional Louis XVI fauteuil chair and the husband’s “Mr.” chair being an English wingback lounge chair. In reworking the wingback, Rochon used leather, saddle-stitched directly to pieces of steel for a ‘rolled arm’ effect, and he bolted the steel arms to the chair’s underside. Appreciating both concept and romance in design, and redefining both for the real world today, the highly creative couple (he, an innovator, and founder of a major gaming company) allowed Rochon to experiment.
This process of deconstructing traditional pieces and reengineering all the components with fresh parts and current materials was the result.
“I can actually pinpoint envisioning Body Parts,” shares Rochon. “I found myself isolated with my 4-year old son Henry in my apartment for a week during a snowstorm. He was watching ‘The Lion King’ in the background, and I was sitting with a portable drafting board and just started drafting the whole concept. This was the springboard for Body Parts.”