A demonstration of ludicrously designed chairs is filling the standing area in an Australian exhibition aimed at poking the finger at cheap imitation replicas. According to the artists showcasing their personal takes on the issue at the National Gallery of Victoria, the government there doesn't recognise the artist copyrights when it comes to basic design elements.
This results in hard working well trained designers having their ideas copied in lesser quality products which adversely affects the common perception of their work. It also lines the pockets of creatively dry individuals who simply cherry pick from the real talent.
26 designers in total have put forward their ideas of what has been termed “brutalised” furniture. None of these creations are designed for actual sitting, the point being made in the presentation of what's wrong with it.
The copycat industry is causing a lot of problems for designers and artists, as ideas and perspectives often translate directly across sectors. It's clear that when something is apparent, visually or materially, then some kind of intellectual property is there. Finding the laws to define this in a fair manner is tricky, and it does seem that at least in Australia, there's still some work to do.
I wonder if it's all a bit much, though? Chairs are chairs, and there's only so many ways of making them. Can anyone really own a design for something based on such a traditional and likely pre-historical concept? I wonder if Ben Sherman would ever own the rights to shirts? Meaning others would need to discover new ways of fastening material to our midrif.
It's definitely a grey area, and if something has been worked hard on and made exactly right through time and effort, and with an added sprinkle of creative flare, is it right to allow others to make poor quality mirror images? Probably not, if you ask me.
Having said this, the method of putting the message out there does seem attractive. And, as far as I can tell, it has worked to some degree. I am sure that as long as we don't touch chairs, we are all pretty much okay to do something similar. It's only fair.
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