In my previous post, I had mentioned that Vitra’s Grand Repos made me see the Egg as an alternative rather than seeing the Grand Repos as the alternative. Not that I find the Grand Repos had outgunned the classic Egg, but that thinking arrived more from the price side. I find both Antonio Citterio’s Grand Repos and Arne Jacobsen’s Egg equally inviting and the Grand Repos had done well to stand in the wake of defacto standard of classics lounge chairs from the likes of Arne Jacobsen and Charles & Ray Eames. The thing is, the Egg may potentially cost less during sales time. With all things being equal, why would I go for the more expensive product? Hence, the Egg became an “alternative” for me since I am looking at the Grand Repos as a lounge chair where there are no replicas and only the originals are available. For the Egg, you never know whether you are looking at the real deal or a copy as replicas of the Egg are so widely available. I vividly remember speaking to my brother just last week and he told me that he will never get a Modern Classic for his home in Australia as everybody will simply assume that it is a replica.
Nevertheless, the standard is still the standard. It is the level mastery to meet and not beat. Well, there is a reason why Modern Classics are still so highly sought after even in this year’s Milan Fair. The classics are timeless and had never faded with time over the last half a century. To excel such levels means a great deal and it is not a mean feat. The only thing that may water away Modern Classic’s appeal may be the exclusivity. Having replicas being widely available all over the world, everyone can easily get their hands on one, myself included. Being no longer exclusive means taking away the shroud of mystery associated with exclusive products that makes people yearn or even lust for it as everyone can only drool on the pictures.
On the flip side, replicas also help increase popularities of designs. Ultimately, the target market who are able to afford the originals will still get the originals. Those who will buy the replicas will never get the originals anyway. In fact, some may even get converted to get the originals as the replicas are not always that cheap. Take Charles & Ray Eames’ Plastic Armchair RAR for example. An original Herman Miller costs S$660 in Singapore and a replica costs S$290 to more than S$300 in some shops. My wife once asked me, would you pay S$500 for a LV Speedy 25 replica bag or pay S$1,000 for an original? The factor here is, although the replica will save you 50% or more than the original, it is still costly compared to even other original brands. Using the same Eames Plastic Armchair example, would you rather spend S$290 on a replica Eames Plastic Armchair or would you spend $235 on an original Kartell Masters Chair during sale time? That made me think again about buying replicas. I know that when I am buying an original, I am buying a quality product, given the experience of buying my first designer chair, Kartell’s Louis Ghost Chair. I had read numerous posts online that replica Ghost Chairs breaks easily. After 6 years of service, my Louis Ghost Chair still stand strong and pretty. Well, I couldn’t help but get 2 more Kartell Masters Chair during a Space Asia Hub Private Sale for a real good price!
Then again, there are replicas that costs several times lesser than the originals, even when you are talking about high-end replicas which comes with certain levels of quality. Price for the same design is always the key concern of buyers of replica designer furniture. You can bet that true quality is seldom on the consideration list given the large price difference. If you ask me, whether getting an original or replica will really depend on the price point and the real quality of the replica. I will get the original whenever I can afford. But if I can’t and I really would love to have that chair sitting in my home, a replica with acceptable real levels of quality may tempt me to pull out my credit card.