Rogue Nation Meets Il Duce
Husband-and-wife designers Laleh and Alessandro Latini founded SOBU, named after their kids Sofia and Bruno, with the dream of designing modern, heirloom-quality furniture and accessories with personality and warmth. With a willingness to take risks and imbue a sense of humor and lightness in their designs, Oakland-based furniture and design company SOBU offers a welcome alternative to the mass-produced home products prevalent in the marketplace. Unique designs to be cherished, well-used and passed down with pride.
The success behind SOBU's first design, the Junk in the Trunk Bed with Storage in 2011 led to the launch of a full collection of exclusive designs and subsequent opening of a SOBU storefront in the historic neighborhood of Old Oakland in 2013. In 2014, SOBU moved uptown to Oakland's vibrant Rockridge neighborhood where they shared a space with quirky French design shop Le Kube for about a year and a half.
2016 brings expansion and independence to SOBU! We had the opportunity to take over the space at the end of the year when Le Kube decided to move to Berkeley. We closed up most of January to completely remodel and update the shop. Alessandro and I worked hard on reimagining what our dream space would look and feel like.
Visit soon to see the new SOBU! A true labor of love...
The Duo Behind SOBU
Furniture designer and ex-architect Alessandro Latini was born in Rome and spent his childhood living in inspirational locales such as Sardinia and Rio de Janeiro. He attended UC Berkeley's School of Architecture and discovered his love of furniture making amongst the machinery in the school's architectural workshop. After graduation, Alessandro moved to NYC and lived in an East Village basement apartment designing and building custom furniture for a living. A move back to San Francisco led to working for a handful of San Francisco-based architecture firms and then a transition back again to designing furniture and accessories for major retailers such as Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel, and traveling internationally to source sustainable materials and methods of fabrication.
Iranian-born graphic designer and photographer Laleh Latini moved to San Francisco as a young girl to escape the revolution. She became friends, just friends, with Alessandro in high school. Laleh studied Design with an emphasis on Film and Photography at UC Davis and then embarked on an around-the-world trip traveling across 4 continents and 13 countries with a close college friend. Back to reality in San Francisco, she did a brief stint as a commercial photographer's assistant and quickly learned the commercial route was not for her. Instead, she started working as a graphic designer and her 20-plus-year career has now included clients such as Pottery Barn and Design Within Reach. Through the years Laleh remained a devoted photographer and her work is now available at the SOBU shop and online.
Crossing Paths Again
While on a visit from New York, Alessandro spotted his high school friend riding past on her Vespa. He left a note in her helmet inviting her to coffee and the rest is SOBU history. The next chapter included living together all over San Francisco and a somewhat ill-fated move to France that led to a 1-year relationship hiatus, then...back together, kids and SOBU.
After over a decade in the lovely island town of Alameda, Laleh and Alessandro recently moved to Berkeley. Laleh's high school Vespa is still around and being restored by a friend, and an old and very rusty Citroën HY recently joined the family.
SOBU always welcomes your thoughts and suggestions. We love what we do and hope you feel the same way!