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.
30 September 2011
Cool design store flea+cents have a design warehouse sale from 30 September to the 2 October. Head over to Wanchai for some fab deals on furniture and decorator items. Flea+cents stock furniture from vitra and muuto as well as other more edgy brands. The sale is so great that they are only taking cash.
29 September 2011
Born in Finland in 1910, Saarinen emigrated to the US where he first studied architecture in Paris and then at Yale. After establishing an architecture practice, Saarinen gained a number of important commissions including the TWA terminal at JFK, Dulles International Airport, Noyes Dormitory at Vassar to name a few. His furniture designs are still in production by their original manufacturer, Knoll. The Womb Chair was designed to facilitate a relaxed sitting posture, providing emotional comfort and a sense of security-hence, the name “womb”. Of course the design has been mercilessy ripped off in poor materials, so be sure that you are buying the real thing.
To find stockist of the original womb chair produced by Knoll, check their website here.
29 September 2011
On the 4th October this year, I will be participating in a worldwide blogging event, called the Girl Effect. As a woman, a teacher and the mother of two girls, this cause is something that resonates. Check out the video and follow the links and you will see how you can help. You can join me here.
28 September 2011
The viewing of contemporary architecture needs an informed approach. In architecture, we are so hung up on the way a building looks in terms of what we expect and what we are used to, that it is important to understand the design process of architecture to really understand the designers’s intention. An example of this is the recent design by norwegian firm snøhetta. The brief was to design a viewing platform for reindeers that inhabit the National Park in Dorve, Norway. It was to be used by hikers who need a break from the sometimes harsh environment where they can view the wildlife from a discreet viewpoint.
The outdoor façade of the building is reminiscent of rock forms slowly eroded by wind and water processes. This facade refers to the rugged backdrop of the environment around the viewing module. The undulating southern facade creates outdoor seating warmed by the sun’s rays, an effective use of natural heat as well as mimicking the natural form of rocks. The pavilion is constructed with norwegian shipbuilding techniques in conjunction with advanced fabrication processes and machines, a true combination of Norwegian tradition and innovation. The construction is simple individual 10 inch square wooden beams were milled and assembled with pegs to produce the wave effect.
The materials used consists of a rigid rectangular frame clad with rusted steel. This structure blends into the surrounding landscape while the saturated pine tar treatment of the exterior planks announces its presence to mountain hikers. The interior wall of the gathering space provides additional benches with unobstructed views of the reserve through a floor to ceiling glass enclosure, connecting the viewer to the enviroment, while protecting them from the elements.
The use of local materials, building techniques, siting and design meld together to create a success answer to the design brief.
28 September 2011
I love the 1920s. The glamour of the fashion, jewelry and people of this period was unsurpassed. France was throwing off the scourge of WW1 and the yoke of the turbulent past and moving towards a hedonistic world full of jazz, smoky bars and artists. This is the period where Chanel founded her design house, Sarte and Hemingway were writing, Porter was writing his songs and Gillespie playing his music. You get the picture.
On the weekends and in summer, the fashionable parisians headed out to Deauville. Located in Normandy, Deauville was famous for its beaches and horseracing, its golf course, casino and promenade. It was so fashionable that many famous fashion houses such as Chanel, set up stores here, to cater to the wealthy.
This season for spring/summer 2012, American designer, Tory Burch, used Deauville as her inspiration. Chiffon, patterned silks, drop waists and bias cuts abound. Spots and strips abound. This was her first runway show. I think she and her design team did a smashing job reinterpreting the period and style- there is plenty here that I am coveting…..
27 September 2011
david joseph at duecento otto
This week I had the pleasure of meeting David Joseph, the co-founder of hip jewelry brand, Miriam Salat. Over firecracker cocktails at 208 Duecento Otto, I learnt all about the brand so beloved by celebs such as Sandra Bullock, Angelina Jolie and Lady Gaga.
The jewelry is made beautifully out of resin, CZs and silver. Being more of a fine jewelry girl myself, I was surprised to be seduced by the luscious colours and finish of the pieces. The designs are made for the bohemian world traveller: the woman who craves excitement and adventure which David glamorously terms the ‘gyp-set’.
I love rich colours, and Miriam Salat certainly uses these in abundance. I was especially taken with a hue called Bordeaux, which, as the name suggests is a luminous red. The CZs are used with restraint and are complemented by the finely detailed settings in silver, the craftsmanship of which would not be out of place in a fine jewelry collection. The look is classy, not flashy but with a certain zing that can only come with bling!
I have recently been converted to bangles, but heavy ones do irritate me, so I was pleased when I stacked on four or five of the bangles and did not collapse with the weight. I can see myself not having to decide between different designs but taking them all.
Like the Miriam Salat woman, the Miriam Salat brand has a strong social conscience, donating products to be auctioned off for charity as well as supporting their own charitable works. The brand is interested in the world and its future and certainly contributes to making it a better place. You can read about the brand’s philanthropic endeavours here.
After I finished trying on all the jewels, my husband turned up to take me for more cocktails and took a look at some of the pieces as they were being packed away. He is also a bit of a fine jewelry fan (I know-lucky me!) and commented ‘this stuff is pretty cool’….and that, my friends, is the highest praise indeed!
In Hong Kong, Miriam Salat is available in Lane Crawford and soon to be stocked in Harvey Nichols and Forestbird. In New York, it is stocked by Neiman Marcus, Henri Bendel and Nordstrom as well as many high end boutiques. In London, it is stocked by the Gift Library, and finally in Australia, you can find it at Jean Brown in Queensland.
26 September 2011
I usually love the stuff that Sibella Court puts together, but I have to say that I was disappointed with the new range she put together with Anthropologie. I guess I was hoping for something a little more quirky than just reissued vintage hardware. It just wasn’t different enough for me….but maybe more is coming. Anyway, it certainly is cheap, most of the products are around USD 8 each and would look quite nice on a rustic piece of furniture. You can see the full collection here.
25 September 2011
images via the v & a
you can see a video for the installation here
The french designers, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec are doing the most interesting textile design around. Using fabrics in a three dimensional way, the brothers fold, sew, join, pinch and prop to create landscapes that enfold a space and create atmosphere. For London Design Week, the Bouroullec brothers created a field of textiles in the Raphael Court, inviting the viewer into this intimate space to view the works with a fresh perspective. The field of colour stretches expansively, echoing the soft hues of greens, greys, blues and browns in the cartoons. You can see more of their work here. I especially love the work they do with Kvadrat, one of my favourite and innovative textile companies.
24 September 2011
There was something crazy going on at the apple store this afternoon. I became excited too but I am not sure why. Anyway, the guys in Apple are really pumped up and dying to sell you some apple gear. So head on down there tomorrow, it opens at 9 …. & there is already a line!
23 September 2011