Or so the saying goes…..Well, it was only a matter of time.
A while back I started following a Mid Century Modern furniture enthusiast on Instragram and noticed that they had posted an image (to which I thought) was our Argyle Shelving unit on their account
I was flattered to have one of my designs to be recognized as an “iconic” (if I can use that word) piece of MCM Design.
Fast forward a few weeks later and I noticed that this person had updated their IG profile which identified them as a furniture company specializing in Mid Century Design, such as myself. So I clicked over to their page (www.joybird.com) and started browsing. I noticed in their portfolio that they offered the “Miles wall unit” which to my surprise was remarkably similar to my Argyle Shelving unit. Slightly bigger, offered in a few different finish options for over 3 times the price! ($1799.00) The image on their website couldn’t spell it out any clearer that they are reproducing our design! The legs are the exact same, and even right down to the placement of the shelves!! It would be nearly impossible for them to convince me that my design was not at very least an inspiration for their piece.
This type of thing has been happening in the MCM furniture community for years and there has been numerous debates about Chinese knockoff of original designs by Eames, Knoll , etc. Alter the dimensions slightly and call it something else and suddenly its yours! Does it help or hinder the industry and market as a whole? There are arguments on both sides of the coin but as far as this situation goes,it’s flattering to know that my design is admired to a degree that other companies feel the need to copy my idea.
Are you certain you didn’t copy them? Yea, pretty sure since I designed and started offering this piece back in late 2006 and they had just formed as a company in 2013.
What’s next? Cease and Desist? Lawsuit?
Most likely not. I feel that it would be a waste of energy to focus on this but I do feel it is within my rights to call them out on this and to let them know that I will be paying closer attention to their products and business practices. I am not here to trash talk or tell you not to buy from them, after all if you want to pay over 3x the price for a replica, be my guest, but if you want to purchase a limited production original from the original designer at a third of the price($550.00) , look no further!!
From what I can gather about Joy bird, It looks like they make some great furniture (albeit a number of pieces seem to be reproductions- including my Argyle Shelving unit ) It appears to be good quality and American made, so if you are in the market for furniture and there isn’t something that interests you from my product line, go check them out! (see guys, I even threw in a bit of advertising for you – FREE OF CHARGE!!)