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Opinion: How do You feel about Replica Furniture?

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You know, I’d never really given much thought to whether or not replica furniture was ethical from a design perspective. As a boy on a budget in my early twenties, I’d nab the cheapest furniture I could find that made my home look nice, with no regard at all for its origin.

Of late, though, as I find myself surrounded by more design types, the topic of real versus replica seems to come up a fair bit, with some pretty strong arguments either side of the debate.

Those against the idea of replica furniture suggest that the original designer’s intellectual property is being stolen, that their designs are being diluted and that purchasing these inferior pieces is supporting the selling of counterfeit goods.

Replica vs Real Furniture

Those on the other side of the argument suggest that replica furniture makes iconic design more accessible, and within budget for many consumers who simply can’t afford the real thing. With many stores openly celebrating the fact that their pieces are replicas, the idea is that full disclosure is taking place and that nobody’s fooled.

As both a consumer and stylist, I’m find myself somewhere in the middle of this debate (I hate to be a fence sitter). If anything, I find myself learning toward supporting the idea of replica furniture, because I think design should be accessible to everyone – and I hate the idea that those with less money should miss out. That said, I do think all replicas should be sold as such!

Are you for or against replica furniture?
Drop me a comment below and let’s get a dialogue started!

Image one via http://www.mattblatt.com.au/
Image two via http://australianmodern.files.wordpress.com/

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Colour Trends for the Home

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He's also spent time on TV, on Channel 10's Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7's Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you'd like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

COMMENTS
  • quidgy

    REPLY

    I’m totally fine with replica furniture. Well designed originals are beautiful and help to set or steer trends, but they are just too pricey for the average consumer. Why should the wealthy only have access to the most beautiful things?

    Like music and art, there should be a licensing arrangement where the original designer gets a royalty from replica sales in recognition of their work. That would make the system fair in my opinion.

    27 March, 2014
    • I’m with you on this one. I hate the idea that only those with money get to experience beautiful furniture!

      27 March, 2014
  • Have to agree with Quidgy! Charles and Ray Eames started their company with almost the same philosophy as Quidgy mentions above, bringing great design to those who love and appreciate style and quality without the huge price tag so surely the ‘replicas’ are doing just that? Would love to read others opinions on this!

    27 March, 2014
    • Thanks for sharing Shar, I hear you loud and clear. I hope more people weight in on this because it’s a really interesting conversation!

      27 March, 2014
  • Cathy Elsmore

    REPLY

    I do understand the argument of quality comes first but for some people, they will never come close to being able to afford a high end designer piece and the reality is that if it doesn’t compromise the buyers health or safety why not pick up a great replica. Most people who are on a tight budget would not be entertaining the idea of paying $350 for a chair when they can get something very similar for $70 so in conclusion, the true designer piece shoppers will always be loyal to their love of real verses replica anyway. I don’t think it is compromising the sales of their designer piece as most budget conscious buyers are not going to buy it anyway.

    27 March, 2014
  • I do feel strongly about this topic and disagree – if you can’t afford classic design pieces, don’t buy them! I would prefer to save up until I can afford them, or buy from new, rising young designers. Beautiful furniture is not restricted to Hans Wegner or Eames. Or of course, if you want cheaper designer items, there is always Ikea, which acknowledges the designer on every label/catalogue.

    29 March, 2014
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