Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Rise and Fall of Design Within Reach

Very interesting article in Fast Company on the design ethics of retailer Design Within Reach.

Specifically the section regarding their discontinued Barcelona Chair knock-off (called the Pavilion) caught my eye:

The strategy [of systematically copying popular pieces - BC] is a disappointing echo of a controversial decision Forbes made shortly after Design Within Reach's birth. He couldn't get permission from Knoll to sell Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona chair, and so DWR did an "inspired by" piece, to the original specs, called the Pavilion. Forbes emphasizes that DWR never tried to pass the Pavilion off as the Mies original, but still squirms and stutters over the decision to sell it. "I didn't feel that good about it... . It bugged me ... because ... as a designer ..." He trails off and finally continues. "Yes, it's legal to sell those things, but it's how you go about doing it. We all have our instincts about what you can live with. Some people are happy with breast implants and some aren't." Knoll finally allowed DWR to sell the Barcelona chair in 2005.


BH90210 said...

I bought a camel colored barcelona daybed in 2005 from DWR. I love the peice, but would like to find out more about the origins. Apart from being made in Italy, I don't know much more. I called DWR and they told me they no longer have records of the manufacturer from that period. I don't know if you have done any research in this area. Any info would be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

I just purchased a premium reproduction from , everything is imported from Italy. Have you by any chance seen their chairs ?