Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by gomestar, May 12, 2013.
Your chairs are the chair equivalent of a fat ass in all workout gear.
haha, i was going to say the exact same thing. i debated between that or the fat kid who wore couture to the first day of school.
I settled with Foof's eventual demise.
I like those J39's
also dig these:
My parents had (still have) J39 knock-offs.
Those would go better with your table. Do they actually exist? Every photo seems to just be a rendering and they don't appear to be for sale anywhere online.
wife was a little meh on the nylon straps, and the other Maruni Morrison chairs we priced were quite high (if I remember correctly, 4X more per chair after her Magis discount), so we stuck with the Trattorias, which we both love.
That is ridiculous.
I don't "get" any of this modern stuff to begin with from an aesthetic standpoint but if I am to take the general explanations I hear around here about approaching problems afresh given modern materials and manufacturing techniques, a 12-16 week lead time flies in the face of all of that.
To each his own in terms of what floats your boat; I wouldn't want any of those chairs in my house. If you like them, great, but as someone who works in manufacturing knowing that someone is making those kinds of margins and then shitting on their customers so wholly unnecessarily pisses me off.
the mark-up on some of these things really is ridiculous. Purchase through the right people, though, and you can save substantial off of list. Of course this is what we did.
I can't do anything about the lead time, unfortunately. Foof's Chair One's are regularly available quickly, mine are not. So it goes.
Douglas, I think you're missing some information to the conclusion you are drawing, because for nearly all high end furniture that is not held in a warehouse, there is always a leed time. Boat transportation is a little slower than flying, and the manufacturers have to estimate their leed times with the consideration of any delays in suppliers, ect.
People are happy to wait 3 months, if in 3 months their product arrives. Much better than an estimate of 1 month that takes 3 months.
The shipping price is added to the price in America for anything regularly imported from overseas.
Some of the products that are popular are reasonable in margin, others are not.
Not to sidetrack, but how does lead time impeach the stated objective of modern design?
For the larger companies, it just has to do with how they prioritize competing levels of demand. Our Cappellini lounge chair is probably going to take four freaking months. I'm not happy about it, but when you specify a particular iteration out of thousands of different fabric, finishing, and configuration combinations, that's what happens. No one else is ordering that exact chair. On the other hand, if I wanted the same chair in plain black, I could probably have it in hand by the end of next week.
Then there are smaller companies like the one that makes the coffee table we like. They simply do not keep stock of anything. They produce to order. So, naturally, you have to wait.
Gome's chairs are a special case. Magis is a major manufacturer and distributes through Herman Miller in the U.S. However, the Trattoria chairs don't seem to really sell here, so it's not a situation where Herman Miller is going to keep dozens in stock and ready to ship. Why are they taking so long to get from Europe? Well, Italy shuts down for the entire month of August, so that doesn't help. Beyond that, it could just be that they happened to have sold out their existing stock and need to wait until the next production cycle to make the next hundred, or thousand, or whatever.
In contrast, if he wanted a Saarinen table, he could have it at his door in a couple of days.
Anyway, I guess I don't really find any of this surprising. I've been desensitized by multi-year long waits for pents.
The norm in Europe is 8-12 weeks for European produced products and add 4 weeks of shipping by boat, it sounds about right.
Edit: you mentioned that further down.
All italian factories close down in August, which will account for some of the lead time, the closing often means they are swamped in june/july as everyone wants to get their order in right before.
If I had a nickel for everytime I had to explain to a customer, why we don't have 1 or 6 in every color in stock, I would be a billionaire.
If we had one of every color combo in stock, I would have over 1.000.000 pieces in stock, that would be a massive warehouse.
I said I was in manufacturing, didn't I? I knew the order was going back to the factory and that these obviously were not in stock.
In most industries, manufacturing companies have figured out how to reduce lead times dramatically. Look at that chair - it's a bunch of manufactured wooden dowels with a tiny bit of machining, some finishing, and two injection molded poly parts. There are options but this is not a custom item - it is a configured one. Even when the options are varied, in terms of fabrics etc., these are configurations, not truly customizations. The fabrics, the different colored poly seats and backs, etc., in a properly managed company would already be in stock. There are heavy equipment manufacturers making truck-sized industrial equipment with literally 1,000,000 different configurations that can ship same day or next day with total reliability.
The chair in particular has maybe 1 hour of touch time, and that's being generous. All the rest of that 8-12 week factory lead time is inefficiency in the supply chain or ordering or manufacturing process.
Of course, when you have exclusive rights to manufacture a particular design, there is no competition, and therefore little incentive to improve the lead time. I understand the economics here. Hell, I even have to suspect that some of this is purposeful - designed to create a certain aura of scarcity.
I look at the delta between the manufacturing cost of that chair (I can tell you it's really, really low) and I see ridiculous margin going to the designer, the distribution, and the marketing, and I sort of shake my head. Most especially when it comes to the designer, because when I look at these designs I'm not sure I have the same sense of wonderment where a fake or even just a Target kind of design, available for a tiny fraction of the price, looks any less attractive. I sort of have the feeling that the emperor has no clothes. Then when I hear that the emperor is quoting 12 week lead times, I have to think the emperor is also kind of an asshole.
Anyways, it is sort of an interesting discussion to get into, the one about design as intellectual property and what its value is. I see value in IP protections, particularly when it comes to useful innovation, but the line is much blurrier for me with design, particularly as we talk about very old designs (Eames, etc) where the designer is long dead. I don't understand how some of these design patents and copyrights are still even in force.
I'm not trying to threadshit - if you like those chairs and have the money to spend on them, Godspeed. I'm fully prepared to have the endpoint of this discussion be "Douglas just doesn't get it" but I am hopeful that
a) I might learn something and
b) I might de-mystify some of this manufacturing stuff for you, which obviously you guys have over-built.
To compare a small operation in Italy or Denmark to caterpillar is a bit of a stretch. Obviously many of these companies are privately held and stick to the way they like to do things rather than conforming to the most efficient approach. So they are often filling large contract orders ahead of retail orders with the production capacity available to a small operation.
That particular capellini chair is tough to defend in this regard, but many danish and Italian pieces involve a bit of complication. Take the wishbone chair for instance. It's made of top grade 1/4 sawn white oak, steam bent and shaped parts, bent laminations, tapered dowels, mortise and tenons, tapered stretchers, and a hand woven seat.
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