I've been having a little internal debate for a while now about how I feel about buying replica furniture. I was reading an Australian designer's blog recently which brought up the issue in a roundabout way and it made me see it more from a designer's perspective, which was interesting. The designers work hard to design a piece and it must kill them to see their design replicated. However there is quite often a huge gap in the price of a replica and the real thing - which is obviously why the former is so tempting.
I have been tempted many a time to buy a replica Eames shell rocker or armchair. One, because the replica can be bought in a fibreglass version (which I love) whereas the chairs manufactured under licence have a plastic shell - and Two, because well, they are just more affordable aren't they? But something always holds me back from buying the replica.
I don't know if it is because I know the real thing will eventually increase in value, whereas the replica will be worth peanuts. Or if I would rather pass on to the real thing my children or grandchildren - (how good is Living Edge's 'Pass it on' campaign - it really made me think). It certainly isn't because of what my family or friends would think because they are not design inclined and wouldn't know the difference anyway.
Friends of mine have a few Jonathan Adler 'inspired' vases in their home and because I am such a big fan of his work and have some originals myself, it does make me feel a little sad when I see them. But my friends certainly didn't buy the vases because they wanted a replica of Jonathan Adler's work, they wouldn't have the feintest idea who he is. They simply bought them because they liked them, and I see nothing wrong with that. I'm sure that we have all unknowingly bought designer inspired pieces before, whether they be fashion or homewares.
Magazines feature a lot of replica furniture, and it has never really worried me (just tempted me!). I can see reasons why they do it - probably so that the furniture they feature is more accessable to the everyday person. They wouldn't want to alienate the readers by featuring outrageously expensive items in their magazines. So it comes back to affordability. Or is it just that we all 'want it now' and don't want to wait and save up for the real thing?
The only real designer furniture pieces I own are a couple of Grant Featherston dining chairs from the 1950's and I absolutely treasure them. I wouldn't part with them for any amount of money. I know if these were a Featherston knock-off I wouldn't look twice at them. I think the replica furniture these days certainly looks the part and I LOVE the affordability, but I just can't see me cherishing them like I would the original.
I'd love to hear your thoughts, how do you feel about this issue? Would/do you buy replica furniture and objects and why? Do you cherish your replica item? If you don't buy replica, what stops you?