Seeing Double: Is It DWR or Someone Else?

Design Within Reach has made its own versions of at least a dozen works by other designers, but it says they are not copies.

Ronda 116 Chair // Aldo Ciabatti

Ronda 116 Chair

Ciabatti's stackable design is a café fixture throughout Europe, and until the fall of 2008, it was a DWR stalwart. "In good years, they sold 10,000," says a spokesman for EMU, which makes the Ronda ($79) in Italy. DWR's Café chair ($78) is made in China.

Sussex Credenza // Terence Woodgate

Sussex Credenza

Manufactured by the Spanish company Punt Mobles, the Sussex ($4,000) was a DWR star until it was replaced by the Dover ($4,000) in 2008. Woodgate says that the Dover is a copy. Brunner's response: "Clearly, he didn't invent louvers."

Chicago 8 Box Shelves // Blu Dot

Chicago 8 Box Shelve

DWR carried the Minneapolis-based company's Chicago 8 Box shelves ($1,799) until replacing it with its own Lacuna ($1,800). At press time, DWR was "in the process of purging" the Lacuna, says chairman Glenn Krevlin.

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  • Mike Alvarez

    totally ridiculous that DWR can get away it it. The Chicago 8 Box shelves aren't even different colors.

  • Devin123 Devin123

    I feel that the items of furniture are different enough from the originals except in a few cases. It's not so much of an issue as might be thought, but I can understand why the original online printing reviews designers might be angry.

    Jonah -

  • Debra Sanchez

    I hate too see this, but certainly there are some elements of copyright issue here. I think we really need to beef up on this area to protect all the interest of the designers. And I am really a great fan of great designs on modern furniture.

    Debra with love :)
    Website designs for accountants

  • Diane Berg

    As an employee of the Scottsdale studio for close to four years, I can say that my first two years with DWR were the happiest I'd ever been on a job. I worked with fantastic people and it never felt as if we had a "job," but rather were part of the design community. The design events we sponsored were a great meeting place for our area and we always welcomed design students for tours as well as just coming in for a chat to talk about modern design and the influence it has on our lives. When we received an email from Ray Brunner telling us that we would "not be participating in the recession" was the day I felt I had no other option than to start looking for another job.

    If DWR can find it's way back to its original philosophy and keep the employees who truly make the company great, I believe they have the opportunity to turn back into a unique and fabulous company.