We’ve been working to furnish our home for the past year or so, ever since the floors were refinished last year and we felt like we could really start moving in. We’ve slowly added pieces (a rug, curtains, table and chairs) as we figure out how we use the space in our house. For the more formal living room, which is the first room you would see if you enter the house from the front door, I’ve been eyeing Wishbone chairs.
According to Design Within Reach, these chairs were originally designed by a Danish man named Hans Wegner in 1944. He was a trained cabinet maker turned architect, and he was inspired by portraits of Danish merchants sitting in Ming chairs. These are also a bentwood style from the Ming-dynasty era. I love their thin proportions and curved lines, which would be a nice contrast to some of the pieces with more mass in our living room (a leather couch and a patterned chair). At DWR, these chairs are anywhere from $600-$1400 depending on the wood type and finish you choose. Dr. Jay just rolled his eyes.
I’ve seen this type of chair at our T.J. Maxx the last few times I’ve stopped by. Now, I know they are knock-offs and not from Denmark, but their price has me really tempted: $99 each. And, I think the ones in the store haven’t sold because they are a little beaten up and scratched at the top. When I asked the manager about them, she said she would give me 10% off because of their condition. The ones in the store have a natural, walnut-looking finish, but now that I’ve seen that a colored lacquer is also traditional for these chairs, I’m tempted to buy them and paint them.
What do you think about knock-off furniture? Is it completely ripping off the work of the original designer, or simply a matter of making well-designed furniture more accessible to the masses? Apparently the original design involves a very complicated knowledge of wood joinery, and when made correctly they should last the test of time. The knock-offs, I’m not so sure about.