in praise of classics
Recently I did a shoot for Homestyle magazine and featured two of my favourite classic pieces, the Robin Day Poly Chair and the Kartell Componibili Unit. I love both these pieces because of there longevity, practicality and of course, their colour! The Componibili is actually from my own home – it is a bedside cabinet for my son, Riley – but it could just as easily be a cabinet in a small bathroom or it could sit between two chairs in a lounge. The Robin Day Poly Armchair is available from BobandFriends and retails for $245 and the Kartell Componibili is available from Backhouse Interiors or Kartell and retails for $276. Be careful buying Kartell, especially online as there is a definite counterfeit presence for most of the Kartell classics such as the Ghost Chair and of course the Comoponibili. The real ones will have a number stamped on the base of the chair – with each one the batch that they come from, so make sure you see a receipt for them if you are buying from TradeMe or buy from from Kartell themselves. Obviously the vintage ones that come up from time to time in amazing colours don’t fall into that category!
I definitely have a bit of a fascination with objects that have been around for some time. I love new and inspiring design pieces – but I love the familiarity of pieces that are either original, or re-releases made under license. What I struggle with, is copies. I think, for those of you who know me, or have worked with me, that this is something I never specify in my work. I have always felt that the copies are never made as well, often deviate from the original design (to get around copyright) – and so are not as beautiful but most practically because the never hold their value. Ever. If you buy a Tolix stool copy, then it is completely worthless the minute you walk out of the store. But the originals are still being bought and traded all around the world – in Auckland look out for them at The Vitrine. Some of these are 40 years old (the original chair was made in 1934 by Xavier Pauchard) and are still beautiful and useable. The same cannot be said for the copies. If you are looking for new ones, they are only available through MadderandRouge in Newmarket, Auckland as they are the exclusive stockist in New Zealand. They deliver around New Zealand. Image below is from Living Etc magazine
I do think it is a bit of a false economy to buy 6 replica chairs that will fall apart over a few years, rather than just buy one original instead. I know that we love being able to have what we want straight away, but sometimes owning something is so much sweeter having waited and saved for it. I am very lucky to have 6 Tolix stools, but I have bought them over 8 years paying them off one by one slowly as I could afford it. I was talking to someone the other day who loves the Hans Wegner Wishbone Chair. She has always wanted them around her dining room table, but is happy to have one for now. There are still other things she wants, but is happy to wait. They are available from Corporate Culture in Auckland.
Some other original pieces I love are not expensive. Father Rabbit stocks the Duralex Gigogne Tumbler which has been around for 50 years. The originals are four times stronger than plain glass, so it is a false economy to buy the cheaper copies that seem to have sprung up of Duralex everywhere. And they are just such a perfect shape with them perfect for small children, and can be used for coffee, tea or red wine (as they are in France).
I have included the last editors letter from Nicole Stock when she finished at Urbis – I wish I could have said the things she did as well and as wisely as she did. It has been pinned on my wall as a constant, quiet reminder to buy well, buy wisely and not hurry the whole process. Anything worth having, is worth waiting for…