Eames molded chairs are a timeless classic that’s experiencing a full-out renaissance. Find me one respectable startup that doesn’t have them surrounding the perimeter of a walnut conference table. But at $300 and up, it’s hard to resist the temptation of a shoddy, outsourced knockoff.
Now, Ikea–the king of cheap furniture–is offering a line of chairs that are clearly deeply inspired Eames and the other mid-century chair design gods. In fact, when you really deconstruct the new line, it’s like a Frankenstein collection of greatest hits, from the curvy seat of the Eames molded chair, to the legs and connective tissue of the Jasper Morrison Hal Tube (which was actually made in 2012), to the high arms of the Vico Magistretti Maui chair, to the cello back of the Arne Jacobson Ant Leg chair (technically 2005), to the wood veneer of Jacobson’s Series 7 chair.
Ikea is offering the options to mix and match these pieces to create your own hybrid, starting at a mere $34 and peaking out at $60.
Of course, a lot has been lost in translation. While all of the original designs were also the products of mass manufacture, Ikea’s chairs simply look cheap. None has the almost impossible to define visual harmony at play in the original specimens. It’s as if you can see the literal corners that have been cut to shave fractions of pennies off the build to make a few extra bucks at scale.
But maybe the worse sting is that dorm rooms everywhere will soon approach the same design sensibility as your carefully manicured apartment.