Originally Posted by twistoffat
If intellectual property is not to be respected then many of the product innovations we have, whether in the fields of furniture or medicine might otherwise not have been created.
Where I might agree that an Eames Chair is overpriced , I also respect that Vitra and Herman Miller have a staff to pay and also need funds to create the Eames Chairs of tomorrow. I don´t see the companies making fakes being creative and offering us innovative new products thus creating employment and paying taxes thus benefiting society.
I disagree. I think that's a really simplistic way to approach the issue; IMO it's far more complex than that.
Walk into a Vitra, Herman Miller, Flos, etc showroom - and look around.
80-90% of the designs on display are "legacy" designs - Aeron chair, Tulip table, EM table, etc etc. There are always one or two "it" items from "it" designers, this rotates year to year, and rarely do they have the endurance to join the legacy designs. I think what you consider their contribution to the design landscape is probably massively overstated when you consider the bulk of what they are actively pushing originated 30, 40, 50, 60 years ago.
Think about the reason for this...
IMO the internet, magazines, design blogs, etc has created possibly the world's biggest circlejerk for "designed" things. If you want to know more - information is readily available. But over time the collective preferences of people that came before you becomes the benchmark choice, and your chance of discovering something new and interesting will drop - it's a numbers game.
A Pavlovian response develops in many to "design shorthand" - you see a single item enough in situations you perceive to be "designed", and subconsciously your reaction to subsequent settings starts hinging a lot more on the presence of these items. e.g. Barcelona chair, e.g. Eames DSW, e.g. that fucking $2000 Hermes blanket.
One specific part of your argument is immediately short circuited when you consider that the replica companies... also hire people
. Who pay taxes. And so also "benefit society".
I think the replica companies do the "design world" a huge service. I think they disrupt the perceived value
of these design legacy items, and cause us to question why they should
cost so much.
In many cases, there isn't really a particularly good reason.
I think they might even have the potential to direct choices to less obvious ones. Imagine:
1. I have $3000 to spend on 6 dining table chairs
2. I kinda like the Thonet bentwood chairs - remember that I am conditioned to like them at $400 a pop
3. I realise that the replicas cost $79 each - and are functionally equivalent and (realistically) only marginally cosmetically inferior
4. I might buy something else
5. I might even buy something else newly designed by someone new to the industry
...so in a sense, they may contribute more to the variety of the design landscape, by showing us that sometimes the emperor has no clothes.
Just my 2c.