8.06.2016

Commune Design and West Elm: Ripping off the Classics

Left: Bruce Goff, 1957
Right: Commune Design, 2016

WOW - A new MONDOBLOGO post! What on earth could have dragged me away from Instagram back to this Blogger dinosaur? It's been a year and 8 months since my last post! (Forgive me Google for I have sinned...) Well, this was something that I just couldn't let go with an iPhone post that will disappear and get buried in everyone's feed after 2 hours. The one good thing about a good olde fashioned blog post is that it lasts, and this one needs to last because it hit a nerve with me - ripping off designers and artists, and this latest collection by the LA-based Commune Design for the furniture and lifestyle company West Elm is too egregious to not comment on. I'll let the pictures of the collection and my pairings speak for themselves, but please let me know if I missed anything as I always appreciate a good design dialogue.

Left:  Commune Design, 2016
Right: Hans Wegner, 1955

(Since I started this post, this chair mysteriously disappeared from the original Commune Design collection but I am leaving it here as it was there when I started and was included in all the original PR surrounding the launch.)

Left:    Commune Design, 2016
Right:  Kaare Klint, 1933

Left: Flemming Lassen, 1938
Right: Commune Design, 2016

Top:    Charlotte Perriand, 1958
Bottom: Commune Design, 2016

Left: Commune Design(?), 2016
Right: Gio Ponti, 1955

(Since I stated this post, this chair also mysteriously disappeared from the original Commune Design collection but I am leaving it here as it was there when I started and made the screen shots, and was included in all the original PR surrounding the launch. Several people have also said that this chair was already in West Elm's collection and that Commune Design just selected special upholstery for it.)

Top:    George Nelson, 1950
Bottom: Commune Design, 2016

Left: William Fetner, c. 1960
Right: Commune Design, 2016

(This one is a little bit of a stretch, but I knew I had seen the form before.)



I thought for sure this was also a copy of another designer's work, but I looked everywhere and it isn't as far as I can tell, so unless someone tells me otherwise, I feel that this is a successful "inspired" design. Good job Commune Design on this one, now if you could just go back to the drawing board with the rest of the furniture in the collection....

7 comments:

  1. For the last question mark, Børge Mogensen is a clear inspiration.

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  2. Being a big fan of commune I hate to fan the flames here but Greta Grossman's Design Line sofa from 1949 is identical to their "version". Ugh.

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  3. Jaktstol 204 by Östen Kristiansson

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  4. The last leather loung chair is almost identical to Phloem Studios Peninsula chair

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  5. p - our dear design teacher - may i present you with an apple?
    my best from vienna-
    carl

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  6. I fully support that rip-off marketing strategy. Brings a lot of PR at zero costs. As a furniture designer that has designed something totally new and has received ZERO response from the media in the past 8 years I should have just made another ripping off to get me into the discussion. Today it is all about going back to the big names and exploit their (then) new ideas and designs to the max. All those Nelson/Perriand/Prouvé re-editions to me are death boring - but hey - it works, the stuff sells and we all can have a BIG old and well received name in our homes! Go, buy it!

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