The Chairs of Childhood, Part II

Have I mentioned how much I love it when readers send me their Design Finds? I do. So much.

Recently a reader in Texas sent me a picture of some wonderful chairs in the children’s area at their local library:


Made of one piece of plywood, these chairs have a really beautiful shape, and I just love how the back looks like a letter A – perfect for a library. (The overlapping color-changing circles pattern on the tabletop is also wonderful.)

Receiving this picture brought back memories of an amazing chair from my childhood local library. I have fond memories of curling up on the soft leather to read. (I also remember feeling frustration when some other kid was sitting in it!)


While I’m not sure our local library had an authentic Heller “Joe” chair, the one in my memory looks just like this one, a true 1970’s classic and a great childhood chair memory. I’m quite sure the hours I spent in this chair fostered both my chair obsession and my love of reading.

Thanks for the memory!


Joe Chair Photo:

The Chairs of Childhood, Part I



Faking It

I spotted this recently…

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…and it got me thinking about how I really feel about fakes. This picture shows a chair that takes its inspiration from the Eames DAW chair. That’s the nice way of saying it. The other way of saying it is that it’s a fake. So I asked myself – is a fake so bad? This chair is kind of fun. But then again, the sales guy in the department store shoe department where I spotted it said that they used to have two, but one fell apart. According to my research, this patchwork version of the DAW costs about $165, while an authentic (non-patchwork) DAW chair made by Herman Miller costs more like $499. (Check them out here.) For the design lover on a budget, sometimes the authentic version is out of reach. But is the fake a good substitute for the real thing?

Some might say a fake chair is no different than a fake Rolex – put together with cheap materials in order to fool the eye into believing it’s real. That’s why no one with a fake Rolex has any hopes that it might one day be worn and enjoyed by their grandchildren – it’s never going to last that long. But with a real Rolex or a real Eames chair, passing it down to the grandchildren is a real possibility. On the other hand, a fake Rolex will still tell you what time it is, just like a fake Eames chair still gives you a place to sit. An authentic Eames chair is manufactured to an incredibly high standard of quality, while a knock-off is all looks – no fine craftsmanship here. In my opinion, the amazing quality of the materials and craftsmanship, as well as the attention to detail, is all part of the joy and beauty of the chair. With a cheap copy, that simply isn’t there.

What do you think?