Original Design or One-off or Knock-off?

euclid tableThese terms are often bandied about when describing unusual or unique products, particularly regarding furniture. Is there any difference between them? Does it matter? The purist might argue that in order to preserve its integrity, a design must be without recognizable precedent. While that might be valid for a device or mechanical invention, it doesn’t practically apply to a piece of furniture, any of which has some kind of an antecedent. In fact, successful – that is, comfortable, useful, enduring and beautiful – furniture pieces are derived or evolved from others that have come before. In the purest sense, to be unique means to start from scratch with each project which is neither practical nor desirable. That said, a skillful designer might want to avoid the pitfall of reworking some other original design into just a replica or a ‘knockoff’. One of the fascinating aspects about furniture design, though, is that in altering dimensions or toying with proportions or details or transitions, what is familiar and maybe even commonplace can be transformed into something extraordinary if not technically unique.

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