The issue of fake products is one close to Knoll’s heart, says Justin Pratt, Knoll International’s European Manager. So much so that, as part of last year’s Clerkenwell Design Week, we hosted the Fakes Debate looking at the impact that copycat products have on the design industry.
The real thing: a genuine Mies van Der Rohe Barcelona® Chair by Knoll, above, is made from 148 individual pieces of leather and takes two days to hand-sew.
This issue is much bigger than Knoll, and indeed furniture design: fake products seem to be everywhere, in fashion, electronics and art. When a customer buys a genuine product, its designer receives a royalty, which enables them to develop and market more innovative ideas.
We understand that not everyone can afford pieces of design history but why spend £500 on a fake Mies van Der Rohe Barcelona® Chair (which can fall apart rather quickly due to substandard craftsmanship) when you could spend the money on a genuine product that was designed to be produced for that price. The genuine product is not pretending to be something it’s not and has been made as its designer intended.
While some customers are well aware of what they are buying, many have no idea they have bought a fake. It is upsetting to see customers bring in fake products, asking for advice about their chair that has come apart after just a few weeks. The real thing will last a lifetime and hold its value, both as a beautiful piece of design and a prudent investment.
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To make sure you are buying a genuine design, here are a few tell-tale signs of fake furniture:
- Weasel Words: If a website notes ‘in the style of’, ‘inspired by’ or ‘what is an original?’ they are using weasel words to fool you.
- The price: If it’s too good to be true then it probably is. Have a good idea of what the RRP is for the genuine piece of furniture you want.
- Sturdiness: Most quality furniture has been crafted to its original specifications. But look at the manufacturing quality and how the piece has been put together; this is usually a good indicator.
- Logos and trademarks: Make sure the pieces of furniture carry the original manufacturer’s logo and that the furniture is advertised with relevant trademarks. The Barcelona® Chair, for example, is a registered trademark of Knoll International and only genuine Barcelona® chairs bear the registered trademark symbol.
We’re busy forming our plans for this year’s Knoll debate about Clerkenwell Design Week. To receive regular updates on this follow us on Twitter.
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