30 September 2011
It is tempting to buy replica products, whether they be furniture, watches or accessories. They are usually a fraction of price of the real thing and clearly you get the look for less.
However in the case of furniture, you are getting a product that is made of inferior materials and of course uses someone else’s design. It trades on the name and reputation of the furniture manufacturer and designer. In some cases, the buyer is not aware of the differences in terms of quality of the product, and is surprised when the product does not age well.
An Australian retailer, Matt Blatt, has set up a business selling replicas of classic furniture designs. A recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald states that the owner, Adam Drexler, sees himself as the ‘Robin Hood’ of furniture, allowing the less well off to access luxury designs.
And that, I think, is the point. These designers and manufacturers have spent years developing a design, choosing quality materials and skilled craftsman to make a product that will stand the test of time. In the case of the Eames lounge chair, I have seen products made in the 60s that still look and function well. As a furniture designer and producer myself, I know how much it costs to get the high quality leathers that are used in the Herman Miller produced designs. All the parts in the Herman Miller chair are replaceable and repairable. You are buying a product that is built to last you a lifetime. If you add in production, other components, marketing and shipping, it would be very difficult to break even if the product was sold for AUD1895. And besides, should a product like this be accessible to all and would you want it to be?
If you do want to pay that amount for a lounge chair, choose a product made by a local furniture maker. You will get better quality and probably a product that is built to last. Furniture is just like buying a car, you wouldn’t buy a copy of a Porsche- there is no point. You would choose something that still has style but that fits your wallet and there is nothing wrong with that!
BTW..if you want to check that your Eames lounger is the real thing, look underneath for the label. Also jetsetrnv8r has a list of things to look out for. You can see this here.Read More