Battling Knockoffs Posted July 9, 2014 by Marlow Hoffman

Why choosing authentic designs over knockoffs is so important. 

After talking with Mark Schurman, Herman Miller’s Director of Communications, Linder Geiser wrote a blog for Be Original Americas about the negative impact that knockoffs have on the design world, and how they impact future design innovation.

See the excerpt below from Geiser’s article, Be Original with Herman Miller, or click here to read the full story.

Modestics_Herman_Miller_1“Last week marked what would have been Charles Eames’ 107th birthday. Charles along with his wife Ray are probably the most famous design partnership in American history. They also designed what has come to be known as the most knocked off piece of furniture in American history; The Eames Molded Plastic Chair (original designation) commonly referred to as the fiberglass or shell chair, and now produced by Herman Miller in polypropylene (Molded Plastic), in fiberglass (Molded Fiberglass), and in plywood (Molded Wood). Everyone knows the chair, and chances are you’ve even sat on a version of one. Whether its fiberglass, plywood, or plastic, the iconic Eames shell chair has also sparked one of the largest knockoff design debates in history. Although the debate has heated up in the recent past, the knockoffs have been happening since close to the chair’s inception.

“I recently sat down and talked about knockoffs with Mark Schurman, Director of Communications for Herman Miller. Understandably, Mark had a lot to say about knockoffs and not just because of the ongoing legal battle with Los Angeles-based furniture company, Modernica.

“I don’t want to get in to the legal details too much, but let me give you just a brief run down in case you were unaware of Herman Miller vs Modernica….

“In 1950, Charles and Ray Eames pushed the limits of manufacturing with their groundbreaking Molded Fiberglass Chairs. By the 70s environmental risks associated with fiberglass production were becoming more widely understood, leading to the eventual decision in the late 80s to discontinue fiberglass shell production until a more suitable material could be found. Also around this time, there was explosive growth in Herman Miller’s commercial contract office furniture, leading the company to assign the residential marketplace a back seat. Many items were taken out of production, in addition to the Eames Molded Shell Chair. But Herman Miller never ended the relationships with the designers or their heirs, and never abandoned their own reverence for their own history.”

This blog goes into much greater depth on the issue of design authenticity and the impact of knockoffs.  Please click here to read the full story.