Don’t fake it if you can’t afford it

This article from the “Heckler” column, was first published during 2013 in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. It’s remained in my clippings and I still think it’s fun! Thank you Stephen Lacey – wherever you are.

Why is it that normally respectable folks, who wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a fake Rolex, or carrying a fake Louis Vuitton, think it’s fine to fill their houses with fake designer furniture?

Apart from the dubious ethics involved in stealing some impoverished Danish designer’s hard work, and supporting a Chinese sweatshop industry where toddlers are whipped until they make enough chair legs, isn’t there something terribly desperate about wanting a house full of cheap rip-offs?

Most of these fakes are so built down to a price they they don’t even begin to approximate the quality and attention to detail of the real thing. There’s a reason why a real Eames lounge chair will set you back the best part of six grand, while a papier-mache and sticky-tape version can be had for less than $1000.

Then there’s the question of proportions. The copycat manufacturers can’t ever seem to get it quite right; it’s as if they failed geometry at high school. Sit in a faux Pierre Paulin orange slice chair and you might never climb out again without the help of a chiropractor. And if you think the real Barcelona chair is damn uncomfortable, wait until you try the one from Zhejiang; it’s enough to give you sciatica just looking at it.

But one of the main reasons I can’t stand homes full of fakery, is they all seem to be right out of the same furniture-fakes-for-people-with-no-imagination catalogue. Panton chair? Tick. Noguchi coffee table? Tick. You can be sure, the only ”real” designer object in the home will be the useless Alessi Juicy Salif citrus squeezer somebody once bought for a wedding gift.

Look, I understand not everybody can stump up $1000 for a genuine Nelson platform bench. And I get it that only a small proportion of people can fork out $10,000 for an Arne Jacobsen egg chair. But seriously, if you can’t afford the real thing, you can’t afford the real thing. I can’t afford to live in Kellyville, but I haven’t resorted to removing the eaves from my house so it looks like I do.
Here’s an idea. Start a savings plan(call it your Eames account), borrow the money from your wealthy aunt in Bowral, or at least invest in some original Australian designs that won’t break the bank.

Because really, where does it all end? It starts out with just a couple of replica chairs, and pretty soon your whole damn life is just a fake.

Stephen Lacey