Image 1 is an Eames chair. Image 2 is an ‘inspired’ copy. There is much debate in the interior and design world at present about the UK’s apparent disregard for intellectual property rights in relation to design. Perhaps the most vocal in this debate, and a champion for change when it comes to demanding ‘equal rights for design’, is Elle Decoration’s Michelle Ogundehin.
I first became aware of Ogundehin’s convictions late last year after Samantha Cameron’s purchase of a fake Arco lamp (the knowledge of which was subsequently released to the media via a press release). At first, I was a little surprised by the strength of Ogundehin’s feelings on the subject, mainly because I had never really stopped to think about this issue. But stop I did, and I have to say that I totally agree with her. I’ve since been following further comments via her blog and one of things that impresses me the most is that despite fierce criticism, (some have been arguing that Ogundehin is promoting elitism for the wealthy) she stands her ground and takes each criticsm in good grace whilst forming an articulate counter argument. Quite simply, she says if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. Just get something else, there’s plenty of other designs out there at more affordable prices that you can get. I for one find this refreshing. Especially when so many of us can be quick to want it all, right now. There’s nothing wrong with saving! What’s not ok, is saying that someone’s design, creativity and hard work isn’t valued or worth protecting.
What’s your opinion?