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Where to find a nice couch?

liberty bell

tim, I am the first to admit I'm illogical when it comes to what I feel are ethical issues. I stated as much when I said I'd personally feel uncomfortable buying an exact replica of a Barcelona chair even if the design is in the public domain by now. (And I don't download music, ever, BTW.)

Yes someone designed the first ever cowl neck sweater. And someone was the first designer ever to imagine using nylon webbing as the seat of a chair. In 1939 Aalto used it this way:


In 1941 Jens Risom used it this way:



Those chairs look similar but I don't feel the Risom is a knock-of of the Aalto – they both employ a material idea that was popular in the design community in the few years surrounding 1940.

If you can't see an ethical difference between using the same materials but in a distinctively different form and making an exact measure for measure copy of an existing object and reproducing it to sell cheaply, well I'd call that just ever so slightly illogical too.

Nov 30, 05 12:24 pm  · 
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rtdc

I would agree that Risom chair is not a knock off of the Aalto.

However, I never said using the same materials in a distinctively different form was "knocking off".

In the examples I gave the form was always identical. In the case of shoes, the only notable difference is the quality of the material and the color. With the I beam there is no measurable difference either in form or material. In the case of the asymetrical tweed jacket, both the form and the material are the same.

In the case of the cowl neck sweater, I would argue that the form is the same. Changing a 9" neck opening to an 11" neck openening in my mind would still be a knock off. In my mind changing the fabric or the color does not change the "iconic form" Adding stripes to a sweater no more changes the iconic form than adding stripes to the leather of a Barcelona Chair. They are both still knock offs.

Nov 30, 05 1:02 pm  · 
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vado retro

is it okay if i put a goatee on it? this debate needs alcohol...

Nov 30, 05 2:26 pm  · 
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liberty bell

timothy, a lunchtime shopping trip while pondering the fact that literally every object I saw had an "original" and I was always and only looking at some version of a copy has softened me a bit to your point of view - along with the fact that you agreed with me about the Risom chair ;-)

It would be well nigh impossible to function in this world without ever using an article that had not been very slightly redesigned if not outright copied from an original. You are right on that point.

I do still feel that architects who depend for livelihood on their ideas should not cheat others out of profiting from their ideas fairly. I can't quite go so far as saying that every time I buy any item I am stealing from an original designer, but I can see the point you're trying to make. And I will keep it in mind next time I walk into a gap (which would be rare, though my husband goes there all the time).

I'm still pondering this a bit and may have more to say later.

Nov 30, 05 2:41 pm  · 
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ElTomas
www.lovesac.com

Nov 30, 05 9:25 pm  · 
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Is there a 'Good Guys' electronics near you? If so, check it out. They're going out of business and selling absolutely EVERYTHING. I just picked up a very comfy, nicely shaped bright red sofa for $200...

Dec 1, 05 1:17 am  · 
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vado retro

"bright red sofa" would be a good name for a band.

Dec 1, 05 7:13 am  · 
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trace™

I haven't read all this, so I apologize if I am repeating someone....


There is a HUGE difference in quality, between a knock off barcelona and a herman miller. I am sure there are good ones, but not that I've see. Personally, that's the issue here. You get what you pay for.

That said, even DWR does not license all of their products, nor does Room and Board (they have authentic Eames, but knock off Jacobsen chairs).

Sometimes it is a question of paying too much (reminds me of architectural licensure, for some reason). The 'real' Jacobsens go for $400+, knock offs for less than $100. Quality, as far as I can tell, is identical.

There is no 'right' answer, because obviously in many of these cases the 'artist' is not making any of the money. Just depends on what you want.


The clothing examples seemed ridiculous, though. An 'inspired' design is hardly a knock off. Rip off's will never use the 'same' materials, etc. They may look similar, as with the knock off barcelona's, but you won't find identical quality (maybe close, though, as they are getting pretty good, in some cases probably better than the originals).

Dec 1, 05 8:32 am  · 
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vado retro

i got two words for your couch-"chew toy"

Dec 2, 05 12:40 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.

I'm reviving this thread to recant what I said above about getting a used cool mid-century modern couch for cheap. Just got back from the upholsterer's: it will cost minimum $2,000 to reupholster my $300 couch.

Crap.

Now granted, if I just recovered the existing foam that would save a ton, but my husband is severely allergic and the old cushions are musty. So there's $600.

And if I could bring myself to select a fabric that costs less than $60/yard, that would save a ton too. But 12 yards of any fabric I like (yes Eames and Knoll and the like - I can't help it, I looove good fabric!) is costing serious dollars too.

Sigh. There goes the holiday bonus I'm not getting in the first place. I better start ebay-ing "designer fabric" but 12 yards is a lot!

So buyers beware: upholstery (done well) is a lot more than one might think!

And I stand firm on my attitude toward knock-off furniture.

Dec 21, 05 3:40 pm  · 
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archaalto

there's always the $99 slip cover option....

Dec 21, 05 4:22 pm  · 
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Sean Taylor

I just finished a knock-off peanut butter and jelly sandwich without paying any mind to the inventor of the pb&j.

I also plan on drinking some knock off wine later, drive in my knock-off colored car (Saab did not invent dark blue, I am sure) while sitting in my Calvin Klein knock off boxers.

Does anyone else think the term "knock-off" is being streched a little thin in this discussion. Of course, I did not invent the term "knock-off" so I am, myself, guilty of knocking-off the original phrasing.

In short, liberty bell is correct.

Dec 21, 05 4:47 pm  · 
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liberty bell

love ya, tyvek ;)

Dec 21, 05 6:22 pm  · 
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vado retro

lb i sort of like the fabric you currently have on that couch...

Dec 21, 05 7:07 pm  · 
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liberty bell

well vado while I'd love to hold on to your seat on that couch...wait, that didn't quite come out right...in any case...I've gotta change the fabric, death to all peach floral!!!

Dec 21, 05 8:02 pm  · 
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vado retro
Dec 21, 05 9:12 pm  · 
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anajew90

This site is perfect for you!!! You have to check it out Modern Furniture. Better than IKEA, reasonable prices & pretty durable. This is were I bought my sofa, and I love it, same situation.

Jun 23, 06 2:19 pm  · 
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accesskb

so I assume most of these stores ship worldwide. Anyone know roughly how much shipping a sofa from China to US will cost?

Jun 24, 06 6:30 am  · 
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e

it will cost a lot to ship a couch from china to the states. i don't understand why anyone, especially architects, would want to buy a couch or chair they have never sat in.

Jun 24, 06 11:27 am  · 
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drums please, Fab?

Nice bump, even if from a spammer.  *edit* the spammer got the hammer!

I'm getting a new sofa in a few weeks from joybird so we'll see how that goes.  Wasn't it great when people talked about design and not politics?

Jul 15, 20 6:39 pm  · 
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atelier nobody

I was just looking at couches on Wayfair/Allmodern the other day - a purchase is in my near future. I have a design for a couch that I have "been meaning to" build myself, but I finally decided a couchless living room isn't appropriate for a putative adult and had to admit to myself that the "dream couch" isn't getting built any time soon.

Jul 15, 20 7:48 pm  · 
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archanonymous

You can tell alot about a person depending on whether they say "sofa" or "couch".

As for me, I always go to IKEA first.

Jul 15, 20 8:02 pm  · 
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Non Sequitur

I can see the Ikea building from my dinning room.

Jul 16, 20 8:32 am  · 
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randomised

Ikea is watching you!

Jul 16, 20 9:45 am  · 
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Non Sequitur

^ probably right. I'm WFH today and I can count 10 ikea pieces in my home-office/hobby studio room.

Jul 16, 20 9:53 am  · 
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archanonymous

IKEA is my "default" unless I can find something classic/ midcentury at auction or in a vintage shop, or if a rep offers me a free or deeply discounted piece. I'm not spending $1000 on a coffee table, $2000 on a lounge chair or $5000 on a sofa. And CB2 or whatever is the same quality as IKEA except 4x the price and not fabricated or shipped nearly as sustainably. Say what you will about "disposable furniture" but my $10 coffee table that is 10 years old and looks fine is a strong counterpoint.

Jul 16, 20 11:44 am  · 
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It's probably easier for me to count the furniture I own that I didn't buy at IKEA. My bed, a dresser in the kid's room (given to me), the desk chair I'm sitting on (given to me to replace an IKEA one we still have), a oak coffee table and two matching end tables, dining room table and chairs (given to me) ... yep, that's about it. So basically I've only purchased the bed, coffee table, and end tables from sources other than IKEA. Most of the IKEA stuff I own has survived at least one move, a few pieces two moves. It's only disposable if you don't care for it.

Jul 16, 20 1:07 pm  · 
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randomised

Bought my Belgian modernist design canapé, dark brown wool fabric on chrome legs, in a thrift shop for €50 or so, such a great find and very comfortable. Some other great design furniture (60s Gispen chairs) I simply picked up from the street, also a good place to hunt if you know where and when to look...

Jul 16, 20 7:19 am  · 
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