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Where to find a nice couch?

mm

As aethetes, I turn to archinecters for advice.

I'm looking to get a nice, simple, inexpensive couch but don't know where to turn. I'm looking for a relatively cheap, simple yet comfortable design. S

omething more durable and generally nicer than ikea, but for not too much money. In essessence, I'd like Design Within Reach, if it were actually within my reach.

 
Nov 21, 05 12:03 pm
e

i would go to second hand modern furniture stores. you'll get something cheaper than design beyond reach and get something more unique than ikea.

it takes time, but when funds are limited...

Nov 21, 05 12:17 pm  · 
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ether

try this thread.

Nov 21, 05 12:18 pm  · 
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4arch

make one yourself out of concrete. very durable and won't end up polluting some landfill in 10 years.

Nov 21, 05 12:25 pm  · 
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Two words to keep in mind: designer discount.

Nov 21, 05 1:18 pm  · 
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A

What is your price range? Couches aren't cheap no matter where you look. If you want something nice and don't want to spend over $1000 you probably should look at used couches. It's like searching for a needle in a hay stack though. Good luck.

I'm also a fan of West Elm. Love my couch from them. They were my cheap alternative to DWR.

Nov 21, 05 1:47 pm  · 
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liberty bell

A, I'm happy to hear you're happy with West Elm, I've been looking at them for a couch myself and just ordered a set of dishes from them that are very nice. Maybe I'll try a couch too.

Nov 21, 05 1:51 pm  · 
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Carl Douglas (agfa8x)

Don't pay a million dollars for an icon.

Nov 21, 05 3:16 pm  · 
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not per--corell

...unless you buy it from me. i'll get you whatever iconic sofa you like for a million dollars. free delivery.

Nov 21, 05 3:20 pm  · 
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liberty bell

The secondhand or better yet antique store is good advice - I just bought (seriously not half an hour ago) a Danish mid-cen mod sectional for 300 bucks! The floral upholstery will be replaced by some nice Eames fabric and I'll have a rock-n-roll couch with some history.

Nov 21, 05 3:54 pm  · 
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check out some e-bay stores for good knock-offs of the icons...i got some good reproductions this way...i got both wassily chair (marcel breuer) and a corbusier chaise longue for under $1000

Nov 21, 05 4:26 pm  · 
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liberty bell

But architphil, then you're buying a knock-off. Haven't you heard of the Foundation for Design Integrity?

Knock-offs are bad.

Nov 21, 05 4:33 pm  · 
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A Center for Ants?

check out CB2

it's crate and barrel's attempt at competing with ikea... prices are around the same too.

i have gotten stuff from eq3 as well.

Nov 21, 05 4:58 pm  · 
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archie

roomandboard.com I bought two couches, a dining room table and chairs, and a coffee table from them, all great, nice simple designs, decent fabric, real down stuffing over foam in the cushions, good price, comfy, delivery guys set it up and took away the wrapping. What more can you ask for?

Nov 21, 05 5:18 pm  · 
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trace™

I'll second Room and Board. While tons of there stuff is far too conservative for my tastes, they do have some very nice stuff too.

I just love the microfiber stuff, available in any color you can imagine. I believe the ones I've been looking at are about $1500-2300. Not really cheap, but not crazy either.
Couches just aren't cheap.

Nov 21, 05 7:56 pm  · 
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some person

We recently purchased a couch (3 cushions) and a loveseat (2 cushions) from Storehouse. We found the prices to be reasonable but not inexpensive. The aesthetic may be a little too traditional for you, but they sure are comfortable.

They have a lot of custom fabrics to choose from at the regular price, if you happen to go at the right time of year. Beware of custom fabrics, however - we waited well past our promised delivery date to receive them.

Nov 21, 05 8:10 pm  · 
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Ms Beary

how can you buy a couch without sitting on it? i can't imagine buying a couch online because of the way it looks.

I got my verrry comfy brand name leather couch at a furniture store's clearance center for less than $800 (plus tax). granted it is not a replica of DWR merchandise, but I am very happy with it. And I got to sit in it before I bought it.

Nov 21, 05 8:25 pm  · 
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SurfaceS

Er.. I saved up for a long time and got a sofa-bed from DWR (it's a bed! it's a sofa!) It was not cheap, but also as far as couches go it was not too horrendously costly. Sometimes it is OK to sit on throw pillows for a few months until you can afford something decent. I rocked it tatami style.

And for the sofa-sofa that I will not be sleeping on, I have been looking at Ebay. You can search by location and get something that you can pick up.

Nov 22, 05 12:09 am  · 
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aemkei

I want:


I'm like Strawbeary when it comes to wanting to sit on the couch atleast ONCE before buying it, but I'm afraid to go down to the store and find that it's not comfy (which it probably isn't), cause it would look awesome with the rest of my furniture...

Nov 22, 05 11:05 am  · 
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4arch

just one of these couches probably costs as much as it would to provide basic necessities for a hurricane/tsunami/earthquake/war victim for months. you all ought to be ashamed of such excesses in these trying times.

Nov 22, 05 11:19 am  · 
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anti

what times have not been trying?

Nov 22, 05 11:49 am  · 
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e

i'm with you strawbeary. i don't understand how anyone can buy a couch or chair without sititing on it.

bryan, who's to say that ppl here are not donating their money? you should not be so accusatory about things you know nothing about. and as anti says 'what times have not been trying?'

Nov 22, 05 11:58 am  · 
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not per--corell

i'd do ebay. gems like this one. only $500, but you gotta go get it in phoenix.

Nov 22, 05 12:05 pm  · 
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impalajunkie

i've hooked up with a manufacturer of 'modern' furniture overseas. barcelona chairs, corbu furniture, eames, etc.
YES they're replicas.
YES I'd buy them.
NO I won't spend 2 months of my petty architecture intern's salary on a Knoll barcelona chair. What's the point?

If you guys wana do a group buy I'll import!

Nov 22, 05 1:03 pm  · 
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impalajunkie

oh forgot to post their site. www.tigerchina.net
I was going to buy a container of barcelona chairs and ebay them off for a profit, I thnk I calculated a profit margin of 30-45% depending on what they sell on eBay for, but it's a huge inital investment and I decided to invest in other ventures.

Nov 22, 05 1:05 pm  · 
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liberty bell

My former boss tells the story - and I'm sure we've all heard it in various forms - of the architecture student back in the day whose mom came to visit him at college, was appalled that he had no furniture, gave him a check to go get a couch and chair and dining set and maybe a lamp or two so at least he's not living like a dog, and the kid takes the wad of money and buys one real Barcelona chair.

The point of paying for the real thing not a knock-off is the same point as paying someone for their design idea. If you don't think people deserve to be rewarded for their ideas, then architecture may not be the right field.

Nov 22, 05 1:46 pm  · 
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Francisco David Boira

You guys need help with furniture!
What’s the deal with wanting 50's furniture? Granted I have a couple of original Eame’s chairs, (pre injection molding crap from DWR; one found on the street at 83rd and Broadway, the other we bought for 125.)
Anyways, there's plenty of amazing furniture out there that if you tried a little bit, might be able to afford.
Tip for you guys:
When you visit a furniture show (ie: New York, Miami), pay attention to what you like, then go to the flagship store and they might be able to give you the "used" piece for up to 50 to 60 percent off!
Have fun!

Nov 22, 05 1:49 pm  · 
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e

agreed lb. i don't understand how most of us sit here and complain about clients not understanding and not seeing the value of their efforts and then not give that same respect to others.

Nov 22, 05 1:49 pm  · 
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impalajunkie

liberty-
"If you don't think people deserve to be rewarded for their ideas, then architecture may not be the right field."

That's pretty shallow.
I do think people should be rewarded for their ideas.
Have you looked at the salary poll on this site lately? NOBODY is getting rewarded (justly) for their ideas. Architecture stands out as a very underpaid profession. That's the way it is. So what is there to do about it? Complain in these online messageboards?
Come on.
In some cases I'm making half as much as kids in engineering that I graduated with last year. I'm not satisfied with that, so I draw upon my interests (design, furniture, architecture, etc.) to make additional income. In this case it happens to be selling reproduction modern furniture.

Maybe this will put it in a different prospective. I also own and operate a custom wheel and tire business. There are some wheels that coast $5,000 a set, and some that cost $700. In many cases they look exactly the same. Now when an 18 year old kid works all summer to buy a set of wheels for his new car, does it make sense for him to buy a $5,000 set of wheels because they're the 'official' or 'originals', or buy a $700 set, if the first time he hits a curb or pothole he has to replace one? Financially, its a nobrainer.

What these wheel companies AND furniture companies are essentially doing is using mass-production techniques to bring design to the masses. Are you against this?

Correct me if i'm wrong but the architecture community seems to be pretty excited about pre-fab/manufactured housing right now...
(ref: www.fabprefab.com, http://www.dwellmag.com/dwellhome, etc)
Doesn't this revolve around the same premise?

I understand that while this company did not design the furniture they are selling, I see nothing wrong with making affordable knockoffs.

Everyone likes the way the Barcelona Chair/Corbu Chaise/Eames Chair looks, i don't think its just for these furniture companies to sell the Knolls for that price.

Have you been to the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein, Germany? Do you see what these companies are able to do because their profit margins are SO ridiculously high for these furniture pieces? WIthin a stone's throw of each other are Hadid's firehouse (is now a chair display building because they realized the firehouse wasn't doing much), a Gehry building to display chairs and an Ando designed house for meeting which seemed like it had never been used.

I'm rambling now, and I know i'm off the tpopic of where to find a nice couch.

Cash in your mutual funds and stocks and refinance your home, then you'll find you're nice couch.

Wow I seem disgruntled.


Nov 22, 05 2:16 pm  · 
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liberty bell

impalajunkie, I hope you know that wasn't a personal attack on you. Good for you trying to find a way to make a decent living, and I know you also have interests that lie outside of "traditional" architectural practice. But.....

I'm not getting rewarded well for my ideas as it is. And then a builder I work with on a house of my design takes the tricky glass block window/bathroom vanity arrangement that I worked out both aesthetically and structurally over many many hours and copies it excatly on a spec house and sells it - and I don't see one penny from that "innovation" that he used to make a profit for himself. In fact he uses it to get more clients for whom he can "design" a similar idea. That's not fair or right.

I am certain that although the $5,000 and $700 wheels look the same there is a difference in quality. And if you spend $5,000 on a wheel I imagine you're a lot more carefuly not to hit curbs and potholes! It comes down to responsibility, to yourself and to others.

This is an interesting topic and much to discuss but I hafta run.

Nov 22, 05 3:41 pm  · 
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not per--corell
Nov 22, 05 4:23 pm  · 
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A Center for Ants?

counterfeit mini. brilliant ad campaign.

Nov 22, 05 5:09 pm  · 
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G-bot

I think most of the original designers are dead. So who is making the money off their designs. Their Estate's - no most likely the company who owns the design. True designers should make money off their designs. But come on - A barcelona chair for 500$ Canadian at Urban Barn or for 5000$ from some fancy design store. Difference, maybe the quality of leather..... hmmmm.

Again - Mies is dead.

Nov 23, 05 1:58 am  · 
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liberty bell
What's the difference?

If the licensed version is $5,000 than a designer can get it for about $2,700.

I don't have time now to continue this discussion but I stand by my opinion: if you believe the work architects do is valuable then you should likewise believe the work furniture designers do is valuable and you shouldn't buy knockoffs.

Nov 23, 05 6:39 am  · 
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impalajunkie

well then i'll buy my replica barcelona chair and smile because I still have $4200 in the bank. :)

Nov 23, 05 9:59 am  · 
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melivt

why not just design your own, sell the rights to knoll/herman miller and check your wallet when chinese crooks pawn off your designs for a fraction of the cost. as for me, i certainly appreciate the authentic furniture i've bought, and i don't have to lie to myself that it isn't a knock off. same with my own projects - i refuse to compromise or cheat, and i sleep well at night. the're called principles. and i stick by mine.

Nov 23, 05 10:39 am  · 
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liberty bell

I agree to disagree with you on this one, impalajunkie, because I absolutely won't be convinced that buying a copy isn't in some way cheating the original designer, be it furniture or wheels or clothing.

Disclosure: my husband brought a knock off Corbu chaise lounge into our life together and I hate the damn thing. I feel guilty when I look at it or sit in it and it's not that comfortable which I blame entirely on the fact that it's not the original.

The original Eames chair salvaged from the dumpster behind UPenn on the other hand - now that thing brings real joy to my world.

And that's just where I have to draw the line to be comfortable with my life choices.

Nov 23, 05 10:42 am  · 
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impalajunkie

they're not crooks! they're intelligent business people.
maybe selling the rights to herman miller isn't the right idea...
maybe selling the rights to these manfacturers will get more of them built and for less cost. more units at lowers cost = more people using YOUR design.

Nov 23, 05 10:43 am  · 
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impalajunkie

liberty- i completely understand. agree to disagree.

Nov 23, 05 10:47 am  · 
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not per--corell

the difference may be that nobody will want these designs because they won't know about them or care about them without herman miller's, knoll's, or vitra's marketing backing them up.

those other manufacturer's are riding on the back of the marketing budgets of the designer-authorized manufacturers.

corb's and mies' designs are one thing, but what about the lesser known designers? and what about the r&d help that companies like knoll and miller offer, to help designers realize their visions? we wouldn't have gehry's bentwood chairs or the aeron without this backing...

Nov 23, 05 10:49 am  · 
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e

so impala, you would be fine with someone lifting your designs, tweaking them ever so slightly, mass producing them, lowering their prices, and selling them? what if your sales went from 5000 units per year per product to 100 year? would you still be okay with the lose of income and the profit that another company makes on your back?

Nov 23, 05 11:18 am  · 
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b3tadine[sutures]

is it part of our capitalist psyche to claim ownership and hold copies in disdain? what is the difference between a signed #500 of 5000 versus a signed #4375? is it possible to have open source furniture? design? i could appreciate the sentiment if perhaps corb or mies designed and built each piece instead of the estate selling the license to Knoll or Herman Miller. i have two wassily chairs, paid 75 for the pair, had been in the family since the 50's or 60's and i have no idea how to tell if they are Knoll or not, there are no stickers or tags....

Nov 23, 05 2:08 pm  · 
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liberty bell

not per corell raised a very valid point in this - companies like Knoll and Herman Miller have a history of keeping designers in their "stable" to allow them to make a living while doing R&D on ideas. They encourage design development. Vitra extended that idea to allow architects to produce buildings on their campus.

Nov 23, 05 2:14 pm  · 
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A

Buying knock off's of designer furniture is like shopping at Wal-Mart. You should feel dirty about the whole things. But in America - land of the cheap - people don't feel guilty about this sort of thing.

I don't blame Impalajunkie. I blame our national culture of cheap consumer goods. I want it now mentality where people can profit from knock off's.

I don't have designer furniture because I cannot afford it now. Someday I'll have the real thing, but am willing to wait for my income to afford such luxury. In the mean time I settle with West Elm, Crate & Barrel, etc.

Nov 23, 05 2:26 pm  · 
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melivt

intelligent business people?

utilizing quality craftsman and not paying them a living wage so some "entrepeneur" in HK can pimp his 14 year old mistress downtown-yeah, great business sense. anyway, the leather alone on the herman miller mies and le corbusier couches is rather expensive for a reason. But hey, if you like that cheap leather,all scratched up from barbed wire fences aesthetic, then you are looking at the right place.

Liberty, there is an engraved number, you can call herman miller and find out if it is authentic.

Nov 30, 05 12:29 am  · 
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rtdc

I think it is important to note that all patents and copyrights have an expiration date. After the expiration date, the thing becomes part of the public domain. I believe that most patents expire after 20 years, and most copyrights expire 70 years after death of author or 95 years after publication date (whichever is sooner). http://www.copyright.cornell.edu/training/Hirtle_Public_Domain.htm

Copyrights and patents encourage innovation by insuring the profitability of research and development. Though it is important to note that in the end, it is always given back to public domain.

If the Barcelona Chair was copyrighted in the US, it is already part of the public domain and free to be copied and knocked off. If it were Published Abroad Before 1978 in Compliance with US Formalities, it would become public domain in 2022.

My point is that if the Barcelona Chair (or any other piece of furniture) is part of the public domain, there is no ethical or moral responsibility to purchase from the original copyright holder.

That being said, I trust that everyone who refuses to buy knockoff furniture also refuses to purchase knockoff clothing. That means no shopping at H&M, Gap, Banana Republic, J. Crew, etc. The majority of their designs are knock offs. How about those Kenneth Cole Box Toe shoes, do you think he invented the style? The majority of home wares from Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel are also knock offs. Always a sore point with architects is software. Software engineers also work very hard to design programs, so I hope everyone pays for licenses. Any MP3 you have that you didn’t buy or don’t own the album it came off of is illegal too. Musicians work very hard to create those songs. If you own a print of the Mona Lisa, do you think Da Vinci or the Louvre got a cut? I hope those who cast aspersions on knock off purchasers take a closer look at their own spending habits; the vast majority of consumer goods are knock offs.

Nov 30, 05 10:42 am  · 
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liberty bell

If the Barcelona chair is a part of the public domain, then there's no legal issue with selling (or buying) a knock off. But for me personally that doesn't mean there's no ethical issue involved.

Interesting point about fashion. One could argue that Gap Banana Republic J. Crew etc. (not H&M, that's an entirely different marketing niche IMO) or at another level Armani Prada etc. are all pulling from a common pool of ideas that are floating around in the fashion world at any given time. The color forecasting industry predictions ensure that everyone will be doing lime green one season and lemon yellow the next, for example. So I don't consider the fact that everyone does cowl neck sweaters one year to be"copying" in the same realm as a measure-for-measure reproduction of a Barcelona chair.

And some design objects are so iconic that there truly is only "one" valid maker of said item. There are a billion knock-off Chanel suits in this world but for those to whom it matters there is only one avenue for aquiring a suit in the style of the iconic Chanel suit and that is going shopping at Chanel.

Nov 30, 05 10:55 am  · 
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e

well put lb.

reed, i in fact don't shop at any of the places that you mentioned so it does make me feel better about my stance. i think there is value in an idea and what we make of that idea. we are all in business of trying to convince others that this value is why people should hire us. i do not believe that we should undermine that value by buying imitations of the idea. i think it is a different and somewhat subjective when someone takes an existing idea and makes something different of it. i just don't think lifting someone elses idea and making a connection slightly different and cheaper is making something different of it.

Nov 30, 05 11:31 am  · 
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rtdc

liberty bell-
Someone somewhere designed the first cowl neck sweater. Everyone after them (J. Crew, et. al.) is knocking off that persons design. Why do you not give that person the same respect you give mies van der rohe?

If Marc Jacobs introduces a line of asymetrical tweed jackets, and the next season gap, banana, and j crew come out with a line of asymetrical tweed jackets, are they not knock offs?

The box toe, the wingtip, and the oxford are all iconic designs. I would argue that they are more iconic than either the Chanel suit or the Barcelona chair; many more people could correctly identify the type of shoe than the type of chair or suit. Everyone else knocked off these shoe designs. Is it okay to buy these knock offs because you didn't learn the name of their designer in architectural history class?

I am trying to prove that your views on designer furniture are both illogical and hypocritical. One either must always respect the original designer and manufacturer, or never be required to. After all, how can one deside which designers are worthy of respect and which aren't? Is the designer of the Barcelona chair any more important than the designer of the box toed shoe?

Nov 30, 05 12:01 pm  · 
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rtdc

E-

A box toed shoe is a box toed shoe. Maybe sketchers has a 1/4" sole and kenneth cole has a 3/16" sole, but they are still knock offs of the original iconic design. If I make a Barcelona chair out of pleather and stainless steel instead of leather and chrome is it not a knock off?

Can one really take the stance that knocking off architectural design is wrong but knocking off fashiong design is ok?

If John Doe was the engineer who designed the first I-beam, and Bethleham Steel was the original manufacturer, would you never specify a beam from US Steel or AK Steel?

Or is the I beam less iconic and important to history than the Barcelona chair? Is John Doe less of a visionary than Van Der Rohe?

Nov 30, 05 12:13 pm  · 
 · 
e

for me, it get to what lb said about chanel. everyone places value in different things. those values must work with your budget, your priorities, and interests.

Nov 30, 05 12:15 pm  · 
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