Modern for the Masses?

Modern for the Masses?

Gregory Han
May 9, 2008

050908knockoffs.jpgWe unwittingly opened a Pandora's box earlier this week when we posted about an Eames-style office chair knockoff a reader wrote in about as a sales tip. There was plenty of discussion about the ethics of purchasing discount priced copies of modernist classics. Target continues to offer near exact copies of many modernist originals to the excitement of some and to the horror of others (sans the exacting quality and details of the originals), and two equally passionate camps on both sides of the fence make valid arguments for and against the practice. Check under the jump for some notable quotes about the topic from a site specifically reporting Target's modernist knockoff offerings...

[image via Blue Ant Studio]

And it looks like the discussion is on quite a few people's minds, according to the comments from both sides of the fence at Blue Ant Studio's blog:

Pro knockoffs comment: "Design should be for the masses, but we keep it tucked away and hidden in expensive corners that the everyday man cannot reach. Places like IKEA and Target should be commended for allowing the layman to afford something that's beautiful and unique in their home, and places like DWR should be admonished for naming themselves "within reach" when they truly aren't. DWR and Hermann Miller and crew have a huge opportunity to help spread design to the smaller towns that don't understand it or don't know about it, but they seem to sit in ivory towers, mocking those of us that have to go to IKEA for something fun and different that's not $3000. As a designer, I want to have a nice home that evinces my profession, but also as a designer, I have a hard time affording the things that let me do that."

Against knockoffs: The problem is that the price you pay for an original responds to the investment and R&D the company made. Knockoffs are stealing another companies property. They copy a successfull item. If this continues, companies will stop investing and will end up with only shitty products. It's stealing property.

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