In my neverending search for cool stuff to put in my new house I stumbled across the Woofer Speaker System. The best part really was finding the Generate Design website where you can find all manner of strange little knick knacks to fill your living space and enrich your life with bizarre designer jazz.
The discovery touched off a larger issue for me that I wanted to discuss. I do love these speakers and really a lot of the stuff on the Generate Design site but my question (and its a broadly encompassing question) is why is this stuff always so expensive? Usually a lot of these things are made from fairly cheap materials and does the ‘designed by’ tagline really justify such a huge expense. If you can find a knock off, who would know the difference and what difference would it make. It’s always made me laugh that Charles and Ray Eames wanted to make good design affordable and accessible to middle class people and then Herman Miller swooped in and put a premium on the Eames name. Who really wants to pay or can justify paying $400 plus dollars for a plastic chair?
One of my favorite chairs of all time, that I am considering getting a pair of, if anything just as a conversation piece in my home is the ‘Chair One‘ chair designed by Konstantin Grcic. I love that chair. It looks like it rolled out of a U.F.O. that crashed landed from outer space. The hard geometry just screams so loud in any space it occupies. It really is a beautiful mesh of art and function. But again, it’s a stackable aluminum chair, can you really justify spending $420 dollars on a stackable aluminum chair that no doubt could be easily mass produced? I have nothing but love for Grcic’s beautiful and thoughtful work but I just don’t see the point in paying the Magis brand premium. Spare me the elitist B.S. Make design affordable so normal people can enjoy it.
When I lived in Miami around 5 or 6 years ago I worked for a company called Luminaire as a Flash web developer. The job payed miserably, but the one great thing was that I was continually surrounded by was absolutely mind blowingly beautiful design. I got to rub elbows with Paola Lenti, Phillipe Starck, people from B&B Italia and the beautiful women of Boffi who sell $100,000 kitchens to the filthy rich. The furniture I saw was amazing. All of it gorgeous and sculptural. It was a tough time for me financially but a rich time in terms of design inspiration. It was definitely a unique experience but aside from being completely cost prohibitive, I was really turned off at how good furniture design was more of a status symbol to a lot of the people who could afford it than something they really relished and appreciated. Wealthy people in Miami would move into an ocean front condo for 6 months while their 30 million dollar home was being built and spend a million furnishing their condo and then completely discard that furniture when they moved back into their finished home and spend another 2 million furnishing that. It was obscene and seemed like a wasteful scandal to me. We sold a couch at Luminaire that cost more than my annual salary. I would look at it and think to myself, “that is what one year of my work is worth.” I would have cut off my arm just for a cool side chair, but I could have never afforded it. I can barely now.
So from one hardworking family man (or woman) to another, try this as an alternate to the Eames molded plastic chair and this to Gricic’s chair one. If anyone asks if its the real deal, just respond, “Does it really matter?”
Will I get the headless speakers you ask? I doubt it, unless I want my wife kicking my ass. But I might cop me some knock off Chair One chairs. Times are tight. Gotta hold those dollars close to the chest.