The collection was designed in 1973 by French designer Michel Ducaroy, who was born to a family with contemporary furniture design in their blood. He met Jean Roset in 1960 and instantly the two hit it off, and eventually Ducaroy became the head of the Roset design department and the company’s spearhead of innovation.
Ducaroy drove the company to use new production techniques and new materials, resulting in some of the most luxurious and innovative modern furnishings in the world. In the years before Ducaroy, Ligne Roset had already been making chairs and furniture, but the company first started out manufacturing umbrellas and walking sticks in the late 1800s. They moved into furniture after the war, making pieces for the contract market, like bedroom sets for civil hospitals.
The Togo happens to be one of the most favorite pieces of seating ever designed. There’s something so fascinating about the caterpillaresque design with its low-profile lounge. When it was first presented at the Salon des Arts ménagers at the Palais de la Défense, Paris, in 1973 it was awarded the René-Gabriel prize, which recognized “innovative and democratic furniture”—pieces that offered a good price-to-quality ratio. It’s been described as having a “crumpled, ‘newborn’ appearance with Shar-Pei wrinkles.”
But something about those wrinkles still holds true today. Ligne Roset has sold 1.2 million pieces to date in 72 countries—and they’re still making new styles and upholstery to the line, including a children’s version, which was recently released.
Antoine Roset, president of Roset USA, explains, “Togo’s upholstery demands a unique traditional skill for which the human hand remains irreplaceable, executing the precise movements which produce the famous folds giving each piece of Togo its character and personality. Machines are used in the beginning of the process, to measure and cut materials then, as the process continues human and machine combine skills to sew the fabric and padding and, at the end, human skills are necessary to make the Togo what it is and add strong finishing touches.”