Friday, November 12, 2010

Zuo Modern Contemprary. A Ripoff.

A company called Zuo Modern Contemporary - Oh, how it grinds my gears.
It takes existing designs, reproduces it, renames it..and sells it.

Sori Yanagi, whom you might know for having design the beautiful butterfly stool.

But wait, how does this relate to Zuo?
Well, the image below is their "version" of the butterfly stool.

'But it looks the same?' you say...ofcourse it does.
It is the cheap knock off version of a piece of furniture that was about the crafts and the properties of its material.

Oh, and it is called the "MACE" stool...because it resembles a mace and not a butterfly...
It is clearly an imitation....but wait..theres more!!!

Verner Panton chair?!..Nope, the "S" chair...

Arne Jacobsen, Swan Chair?!..Nope, the "Cobble" chair.

What grinds my gears is that they don't bother an inch to make it different. It is exactly the same as its original. This is disgusting. And they claim it to be their own design. - All of their products are imitation knock-offs like these.




  1. This has become commonplace in the design and retail world. Nothing new here. Just another imitation retailer. The major reason is because there's a high demand for these products, but most consumers aren't willing to pay the licensing or royalties. That's why most legitimate furniture is considered expensive.

    Unfortunately in this case, usually the imitators get the sales.

  2. Question for you.

    Would you, being a designer, buy one of these products?
    Lets set aside the pride and ego of owning something expensive and original here.

  3. Yep, there are places like this right here in Toronto selling knockoffs of famous furniture pieces. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and so on, even one up the street from where I live, at Dufferin and Dupont, advertising "Designer inspired" furniture, not even trying to hide the fact that they're knockoffs.

  4. It's been a long enough time since these icons have first appeared, no? I think of it as a tribute to a design era past at best, and a poor attempt at generating sales at worst. Does it affect the designers, who are all dead by now? We also have to ask if this sort of thing was appearing back then, too.
    We can say this is a sign of our times, that we are not innovative enough, or lacking the verve of the Modernists. But, were there counterfeit stuff before, too? Like fake Victorian chairs and shit? Or are we paying enough attention to the really innovative ideas of today?

    Also, where does one get a real Panton chair these days?

  5. @Karan
    Personally, I wouldn't buy a fake or imitation product. If I want something like an Eames or a Panton chair, I'll seek out an authentic replica. If it's an original, even better. Chances are that the build and materials quality of the authentic replica is superior to any imitation.

    Design Within Reach (DWR) currently has Panton chairs on sale for 221$ USD (Reg. 260$ USD).