We occasionally receive briefs from clients wishing to exactly replicate an existing furniture design.
We encourage our makers to initially discuss with the client their rationale for requesting a copy. In our experience, many such clients will probably have not given much thought to the opportunity of having an original design tailored to their unique tastes and requirements, nor will they have considered some of the negative implications of the replica furniture industry.
Is the intent to have the piece produced at a lower cost than the original?
Where the original is mass or batch-produced (especially where it’s made overseas in a low cost environment), it is unrealistic to expect a local maker to produce a high-quality one-off item at a similar or lower cost, given the added overheads of bespoke production. Some factors influencing the cost of bespoke furniture are discussed in this article of ours.
When copying another designer’s work, you are harming the creativity of the industry and depriving the original designer of well-deserved royalties associated with their work. Many regard it as theft – no different to replica watches, clothes, handbags, electronics, etc.
Yet, of course we recognise that there can be shades of grey and more legitimate scenarios to consider. Certain design features may be very common and would hardly be considered a copy. Equally, a client wishing to reproduce an antique (and no longer produced) dining chair to accompany a set they already own and love is hardly the problem we are trying to discourage.
While our makers will try to avoid replicating another local producer’s designs, most will happily propose original alternatives influenced by that designer’s style.
Handkrafted offers clients a unique opportunity to connect with local makers specialising in producing high quality and original pieces tailored to individual specifications.
For a broader analysis of the replica furniture industry, please refer to our blog post on the trouble with replicas.