What Do I Think About Fakes? Posted May 17, 2014 by Daniel Ostroff

From time to time I get asked what I think about fake Eames chairs.

Today I saw an advertisement that included some fakes–unauthorized reproductions of another designer’s work. It made me think about my last book.

In 2011, I produced Eames + Valastro: Design in the Life of an American Family, about a middle class family of four who lived with authentic Eames designs for 55 years. After all that time, their Eames table, chairs, and storage units still work well and look great–even after much use by two boys who liked to roughhouse.

The text of the book is a conversation or interview between me and the two boys who grow up with the authentic Eames designs, presented in a format not unlike a film script.

Ken Valastro-on table-1956 -5When I think about fakes, I think about what you get when you buy authentic Eames furniture. In the case of the Valastro family, they got furnishings for their home that served their needs. In terms of the needs of modern living, Gladys Valastro changed one of her boy’s diapers on her 400 series ESU. The furniture also didn’t break, didn’t go out of fashion, and had a resale value. Charles and Ray Eames had the Valastro’s of this world in mind when they designed their goods. The husband-and-wife team was serious when they said they wanted to get “the best to the most for the least amount of money.”

This image depicts Ken, one of the Valastro bothers, on an Eames CTM. Ken is all grown up now. He’s an artist living in Colorado, and I collaborated with him and his brother to write the book.