“Guest Relations” – Why Authenticity Matters Posted May 30, 2014 by Marlow Hoffman

A recent article in the Australian Financial Review features a conversation with Eames Demetrios. It highlights the legacy of Charles & Ray, his upcoming talks at Vivid Sydney, and most importantly, why design authenticity is so crucial.

Below is an excerpt about authenticity from the Australian Financial Review article, Guest Relations, by Jane Cornwell:

“Several of the Eameses’ key furniture pieces will be on display in the Sydney Film Festival Hub as part of a collection from Herman Miller, the original producer and partner with which Demetrios works to ensure authenticity in a market flooded with rip-offs. In 2011, Herman Miller settled litigation with Australia-based replica furniture manufacturer Matt Blatt in relation to Blatt’s use of the term ‘Eames.’

“‘Herman Miller won an important victory in Australia, basically by making knock-off makers and sellers identify their product as replica,’ says Demetrios.
 ‘That is a good thing, but it represents the limitations of Australian IP laws, which don’t give greater protection – as in the US and the UK – for the product designs, the true product names and the names of the designers.’

“The battle is far from over. ‘What Charles and Ray designed and what Herman Miller makes is designed from the inside out. What the Matt Blatts of this world sell is designed from the outside in.’ He pauses, sighs. ‘There are two forces that make it easy for these knock-off companies to confuse people. Almost everything in our homes is cheaper and better than it was 50 years ago – our phones, TVs, sound systems – which leads to an unhealthy expectation that everything always gets cheaper and better. When the chair breaks down you only have yourself to blame.’

“‘Then there’s the fact we are all less connected with the making process than we were. Today there are far fewer artisans, blue collar workers, people who work with their hands. When the retailer says something idiotic like ‘made to the designer’s specifications’ we don’t have the confidence to push back.’

“The experience of a chair is not how it looks across a room,’ he adds. ‘It’s how it lasts, sits, feels; how it responds to care, and to wear. All these things are part of the [Eames] design. Another thing for the copyists is that Charles and Ray were always trying to improve their designs. The chair they were designing is the chair that Herman Miller makes tomorrow.’

“It’s in this context that Demetrios will be launching a new, more sustainable fibreglass version of the Eames moulded plastic shell chair while in Australia.”

Access to the full article by Jane Cornwell can be found here.


SUSTAINABILITY NEVER LOOKED SO GOOD.

Ray Eames In the Spotlight_IMG_6612_lowRes

The new sustainable Eames Fiberglass Chairs by Herman Miller come in eight vibrant colors and a variety of bases. Click here to learn more about the chair’s history the new ecofriendly process used to make them. Click here to purchase one for yourself.

Also, learn more about the talks by Eames Demetrios on June 7 & 8 at Vivid Sydney and check out the lineup of films by Charles and Ray that he curated for the Sydney Film Festival.