I've just finished reading an extremely interesting article about the replica furniture industry. Apparently earlier this year, a number of designer lounge chair "knock offs" were slashed at a large Sydney hotel by an unknown attacker.
|Heron Chair image from here|
There is a belief, in design circles, that this vicious slashing is the first wave of attack by design purists in the battle against the forces of the 'evil' knock-off merchants. Design Vigilantism - a stylish, lisping Dexter who can recommend dazzling window treatments, whilst gutting your replica Egg chair!
This article raises the never-ending debate regarding original versus knock-off. You can read the entire article from the Sydney Morning Herald here.
What I found most interesting was the comments by Charles Wilson on the issue.
"I believe that after a certain period of time, a cantilevered tubular chair becomes a generic type and not a Bauhaus original. There is also an argument that if the companies that produce Eames and Jacobsen weren't living off the royalties from their old designs, they might be more inclined to invest in stuff by new designers."
However, he said ripping off a living designer was theft.
I tend to agree with Charles Wilson on this matter. No one likes having their work plagiarised, but after a lengthy period of time (or when the designer is dead) surely good design becomes a part of everyday life...even if the manufacturing of the item is dubious?
What do you think?
At any rate, the article has put me off venturing into Matt Blatt, Milan Direct and all the other replica furniture stores.
You don't know where those bad-ass designer vigilante types lurk...I wouldn't want to mess with them!