design for less: the classics

There has been an ongoing debate in the design world over whether or not that small and elite group of pieces that have reached “classic” status should be remade, redone, recolored, or mass manufactured and sold at Ikea for $100.  While I hope Ikea doesn’t start selling Saarinen knockoffs anytime soon, as long as the classics are reproduced with care and thought in regards to the history of the product, it is a great way to allow more people to experience the joy of owning one of these iconic masterpieces. While many are against this I can’t help but think that good design should be available for all.  As a recent buyer of an Eames rocker lookalike (can’t wait til it arrives next week!) I cannot argue that the classics should remain untouched.   West Elm has a new collection called “Respectfully Revamped” and it is a great example of some archetypes being redone in great fashion.

West Elm Modern Windsor Accent Chair, $399

West Elm’s version of the windsor chair, above, is a stylish take on the classic design at an affordable price.  Meanwhile, a handmade vintage windsor chair will cost you somewhere close to $1,000, like the one below, which is approximately $895:

Handmade windsor chair, $895

Another great revamp from West Elm is their Elton Setee which looks oh so similar to the classic Florence Knoll two-seater…

West Elm Elton Setee, $699

For the cost of the original, you could purchase the West Elm version 8 times over:

Florence Knoll Two Seater, $5,741 (

Lastly, my own recent purchase, the chair that is omnipresent in any design-savvy person’s home, the famous Eames rocker chair.  I got mine at a super-low price since I bought it during a Hautelook flash sale, but the “fake” is made by California Modern Classics and usually goes for $350.

California Modern Classics Plastic Molded Rocking Chair, $350

California Modern Classics Plastic Molded Rocking Chair, $350

Now, take a look at the original, below, designed by Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller.  Is it just me or do they look identical? 🙂  Guess I scored myself a great bargain!

Eames® Molded Plastic Rocker, $479 (


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