"The copyists are eating away at the very creativity of our industry, not just selling shoddy knock-offs of existing designs", writes Tony Ash, managing director for Vitra, in Dezeen magazine this month. Ash raises key points about the impact that replica furniture is having on the livelihoods of designers whose businesses rely on royalties earned for designs that take years to develop. Considered unacceptable in so many other creative fields – literature, music, fashion – but overlooked within the design industry in some countries including Australia, the lack of protection has a huge impact for design businesses. What is also most concerning is the potential knock-on toll this will have for originality and fresh ingenuity so important for creating better cities to live in on both a micro and macro level.
When I joined Vitra, back in 1999, my predecessor gave me some advice: "Get over the fakes". Fifteen years later, I simply cannot get to grips with the fact that people are able to copy the products of designers such as Ray and Charles Eames, Ron Arad, George Nelson, Barber Osgerby, Verner Panton, Norman Foster, the Bouroullecs and Isamu Noguchi, manufactured by Vitra, without paying a penny to the designer, their heirs or the charitable foundations that have become the guardians of their work. It makes no sense. Read the full article in Dezeen magazine.