Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Design Purgatory...Knock offs

I returned last week from a couple of days spent at High Point market in North Carolina.
The highlight of the trip was meeting the charismatic, energetic resourceful and wonderful Liz of Dovecote Decor. She introduced me to the rural beauty of Salem, where she resides and wrote the most detailed review of this spring market, highlighting some great resources. http://dovecotedecor.blogspot.com/

I even purchased a fairly large whimsical and utterly impractical antique Dovecote...slight problem, in my excitement, I handed my credit card but have no recollection as to the name of the seller...my dovecote is sitting in High Point, waiting to be shipped to its occasionally ditsy owner.

This is not the one I purchased, mine is far larger and can house an extended family of doves

Onto the real topic of this post...

Please allow me to VENT !! One downer about trade show is the usual lack of creativity and the knock offs staring at you. I cannot tell you how tired I am of these manufacturers who do not come up with one single original thought nor design, go around showrooms and stores that invest in creative talent and shameless as they are, just steal their design. to me this is theft, theft of creativity, originality, endless hours and efforts put into creating an original pieces.

I have been on the receiving  end of this type of highway larceny. A few years ago, my showroom and brand name Interieurs made front page of the Design section of the New York Times, its title: where do Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn and the likes go shopping?...at Interieurs

Most copies are made overseas which takes labor away from talented american craftmen. One day, I may go into details of what I have seen in China, and cried in Vietnam at the sight of young children taking batteries apart in dark, humid airless rooms

The most copied lighting piece from our Jose Esteves collection:

image:Interieurs Design Magazine

Brocante chandelier whose knock off I have seen at the Gift Show in New York and numerous catalogs.

I just purchased this pieces at BDDW in New York, one of my favorite showroom

Looked what I saw at High Point! Shame on you NUEVO LIVING!

One of the worst offenders are the likes of  Design Within Reach  who have in previous years blatantly produced mid-century pieces and other modern furniture without a licence.
read article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/31/garden/31dwr.html

I will pass on the list of culprits. Just the other day, a designer made our relentless efforts to be creative so worthwhile. As  her client commented on having seen the proposed desk and chandelier in Restoration hardware, the designer looked at her (without noticing that I was within earshot) and exclaimed...absolutely not, I would never settle for anything else but the original.

Please, help keep design, originality, alive, do not settle for cheap copies. I do understand budgets, but if you cannot stretch for the real things, go to a different source, shop around and have fun in the process. There is a lot of fresh original designs and talents at  reasonably prices out there, all they need is an audience!


  1. I applaud and fully concure! Fresh original go for it little more work but well worth the effort!

  2. I would have bought that Dovecote also. What a fun trip this had to be. Haven't been there in years. yvonne

  3. How fun is that chandelier?! Love it! xo

  4. Totally agree, Francine. Nothing less than pragerism in a form.
    Love Liz too, and your purchase will be gorgeous.

  5. plagiarism. I'm not awake yet, Francine.

  6. I applaud your post...very well said - and I do understand the people who love design and don't have the budget for the original, but it undermines the whole design industry and the hours of work the designers spend bringing it to fruition - of course we designers are all inspired by something and may even incorporate a small piece of the inspiration in a new way, but to directly copy is shameful...

  7. I like the chandelier inspired of a spoon and fork. Thanks for sharing.

  8. GREAT post! OF course this happens in the fashion industry as well, I just can't get over the lightning speed that it now happens in! That awesome cutlery/fork fixture....a good friend with the most amazing eye has two of them in her kitchen, she had them first, before they were knocked off everywhere, and having seen it in person I can tell you the originals are MUCH better than the knockoffs...which is usually always the case...love your new piece, very whimsical!

  9. Hi Francine
    We see that here in australia too.. and it must be crushing for the original designer.. and also.. I'm sure inferior quality..

    that brocante chandelier is something!!!

    Have a lovely weekend.. ciao xxx Julie

  10. Sorry to have missed you at High Point Francine. You raise some very important points and as a designer, it is hard to reign in "budget" minded clients who can't see the difference between originals and cheap imitations!

  11. Much praise from me Francine, bravo. I had no idea DWR is notorious for such acts? As a designer/showroom owner it must be a constant battle? I'm very fond of your last line, 'all they need is an audience'. So true and a great reminder to all of us consumers.

    Thank you!

  12. hi friend...
    you know i am in the same boat... and feel the same...
    lets keep our chins up knowing we do our hard work to bring
    the real thing to those who want it... and we must not let this get us down..
    stay tuned for my rant in a few months.. he he

    you are a genius... people come to you for your expertise... do not ever forget this... btw... dinner in august... lets set a date now! xx


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