Replica Furniture… Is it just plain wrong or simply realistic?
As I reflect on my first ever grown up purchase of designer furniture and lighting, I have been pondering the conflict that exists between designer furniture with its unachievable for many pricing, or the ever so popular replica products. Until very recently, I was all for the replica versions, simply based on accessibility, and I’m also a practical kind of gal who always first calculates the approximate cost to manufacture compared to the retail cost. If the difference was extreme then I didn’t feel at all bad about replica alternatives. But as I get a little more mature in years, I’m growing more of an appreciation of original design, and even more so for hand-made and locally made goods. Given the turn out at events such as The Finders Keepers markets here in Australia (which I attended in Brisbane over the weekend just gone along with hordes of others) I’d say it’s not just me with an appreciation of such credentials.
My designer purchase was dining chairs (Drop Chairs by Fritz Hansen) that I am going to use at our breakfast bar in the kitchen which is set at table height. I was also hunting for a dining table at the same time that seat between 6 and 8 people. The chairs were financially a very significant purchase for me, at around $700 each, and I needed 5 for the kitchen and another 6-8 for the dining room. After much consideration, and staring at the total price on the quote for a good 48 hours to see if I could get my head around spending that much on some chairs, I decided to compromise with myself and just buy the 5 I needed for the kitchen bench. Then for the dining table, instead of the matching one to the chairs (which was a beautiful design), I used it as my inspiration to search for a similar shaped table elsewhere. Matt Blatt came up trumps and I purchased their Abigail dining table for $1700. The chairs I have chosen to accompany it are from Freedom Furniture for a modest cost of $150 each.
At the same time I purchased two Caravaggio pendant lights from Cult Design and whilst I adored them instantly when I saw them in the showroom, I had to ponder the investment for a good week before I committed. I also have to confess to googling replica’s out of China during that time. As it turns out, no-one has copied the new matt grey paint finish yet so that clinched my decision to buy real.
So when it comes to replica or real, I guess you could say I have a foot in both camps! What it comes down to for me is a decision in quality (can I get a replica that looks as good as the real thing?), price (can I actually afford the real deal?) and what sort of item is it – one I’m going to keep for a long time, or is it a fad that I will be sick of in a year or two’s time? I genuinely believe there’s a place and a market for both and I know I will be mixing it up in my home for a long time to come.
How do you feel about replica products? Do you fake it til you make it?