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Eileen Gray dressing table/petite coiffeuse

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by radicaldog, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. radicaldog

    radicaldog Senior member

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    I think I'm in love with this design, but I can't spend 5,500 Euros on an original. Not for what, in my room, would be just a bedside table. Does anyone know of any reproductions?

    http://www.classicon.com/daten/petite-coiffeuse.pdf?PHPSESSID=b82b2ed6e0ea8ca821834555c9bd3558

    My argument for buying a repro (but please let's not have that discussion again): these are industrial designs. It is irrelevant that a certain company happened to be given the licence to produce them at one point. That's a commercial matter that has no bearing on the design. The whole idea of industrial design is that it should be reproducible. Patents are a different matter, but I don't see how one could make a very strong IP argument on grounds of design form alone.
     
  2. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Her stuff is generally pretty expensive to produce well.
     
  3. radicaldog

    radicaldog Senior member

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    Fair enough, I can see that and I don't expect to find Ikea prices (I want a faithful repro); but still, nearly £5,000 for the Aram original seems a bit much.

    I'm considering the original tea (Rivoli) table though: http://www.aram.co.uk/rivoli-table.html

    Must find some space for it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2012
  4. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    That's a cool piece. I'm not trying to dissuade you, I just think that, realistically, the market for really good quality non licensed repros is going to include stuff that is 1) iconic, 2) non-engineered and 3) able to be produced without tons of supervision. The adjustable table is engineered, but so iconic that it is made, and the Bibendum chair is not cheap to make, but can be made cheaply without a huge loss in quality. These pieces you are looking at are particular, and while lovely, aren't going to justify a company tooling up in a factory they don't own, which is #3. Nice taste, though.
     
  5. radicaldog

    radicaldog Senior member

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    ^ Thanks. You're probably right about costs. The asymmetric shape and swivelling drawers of the dressing table must make it very expensive to produce -- it's three times the cost of other, bigger Gray tables from Aram. I found out that those pieces used to be manufactured by the Vereinigte Werkstaetten of Munich, but they shut in 1991. I wonder whether they held the licence before Aram, or whether they were doing copies -- and then went bankrupt!
     
  6. Aram Store

    Aram Store New Member

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    Hello - this is Marius of Aram Store here. Thank you for starting this thread about Eileen Gray's designs - we're delighted that you love them. We do of course recognise that buying a Petite Coiffeuse represents a substantial outlay which is at first daunting, but when one considers the quality of the piece, it can be seen very much as an investment.

    I think perhaps one of the reasons that there are no reproductions of this piece is indeed because it is extremely difficult to make - especially to make well. As well as the instrinsic quality of the design, ClassiCon manufacture Eileen Gray designs for us to the highest possible standards. Miss Gray herself had the most exacting of standards - even the most miniscule fault, blemish or alteration was absolutely unacceptable. You are right that the Vereinigte Werkstaetten used to make these pieces: in 1973, three years before her death, Eileen Gray granted the licence to produce and distribute her designs to Zeev Aram, one of the reasons being that she knew that he would uphold her high standards, which he in turn entrusted to the Vereinigte Werkstaetten in their manufacturing process. When the Werkstaetten closed, ClassiCon was founded by one of their former craftsmen and therefore ClassiCon provided continuity in the quality that we require. Consider the tubular steel frame: there are many corners that must be cut at precisely the correct angle. Then those corners must be welded with utmost care and any slag ground down to make the sharp 90 degree corner appear utterly seamless and to ensure that the chromium plating adheres to the steel without a blemish. The table top and the small cabinet are polyester lacquered to a mirror-finish - even the small swivelling drawers, which are held closed by small magnets on the rear surface.

    The result of this quality is of course longevity - that you have an object that brings you pleasure because it is the best edition and that will last a lifetime, possibly becoming a family heirloom.

    I hope that this helps you as you consider Eileen Gray's designs - please feel free to contact us if you'd like to discuss anything further.

    http://www.aram.co.uk/designers/eileen-gray.html?limit=all
     
  7. radicaldog

    radicaldog Senior member

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    Thank you very much for your kind reply, Marius. Comparing the price of the dressing table to other EG designs you carry I did realise that that piece must be particularly expensive to manufacture. Crudely, I can't reasonably afford it right now; but it's on my wish list, and hopefully I'll drop into your London shop before too long.
     
  8. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    I like her work, I think that original or licensed peices are worth paying for.


    Less expensive is not always less expensive, Knock offs rarely retain value (some do actually) and they often reduce the resale value of the originals. Many people end up replacing them with originals after a few years, and by that point they've gone up in price.
     

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