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Design Stores

Design Republic

Posted by Ian Milne / Posted on August 24, 2010

Design RepublicDesign Republic is a new furniture shop that opened in the Burroughes Building on Queen West. This welcome addition to the strip sells a wide mix of stools, chairs, sofas, and tables.

Design RepublicAmong the standouts is a collection are reclaimed barnboard tables in various shapes, sizes, colours and finishes. These sturdy tables have solid metal designed bases, and as a bonus, many have adjustable feet. The reasonable prices reflect the quality of work and materials. (Prices vary - two dining room tables I liked were $1,400 and $1,988)

Design RepublicThe ubiquitous Denial, A.K.A. Daniel Bombardier has a virtual monopoly on the vertical spaces in this beautiful room. His art is a heady mashup of retro and graffitti and would enliven any room that needs a design kick. (Prices vary - one, called Mixtape was $1,000.)

Design RepublicMy first encounter with this store was when I was rushing past it, late for a meeting. I spied the perfect trifecta of an Eames chair, a Wegner Wishbone chair, and a Starck Ghost chair through the window and vowed to come back.

However, Like Kevin Kline in "A Fish Called Wanda", I was, "DISAPPOINTED!"

Design RepublicReplicas. Knock-offs. Copies. Fakes. Call them what you will. They are a cheaply made copy of a popular design using cheaper materials. Thinner metals and using plastic instead of the original leather or fiberglass. They are functional and a fraction of the original price, which makes them attractive to those who cannot afford the real thing.

I get that. But does that make it ok? Emphatically, No!

All good artists and designers have had their work copied - it's not cool. When you put time, effort and inspiration into your work - then to have someone come along and make a cheap copy steals money from your pocket. On top of that, when it breaks in six months and people think it was one of yours, that cheapens your brand or name.

Design RepublicThe real Hans Wegner Wishbone chair, designed back in 1949 for Carl Hansen & Sons, is available from Holace Cluny for $999. It's a solid yet lightweight stunner. You can purchase a "replica" of this nearly 60-year old design classic at Republic for $278. Should you? I don't think so - but you may feel differently.

Design RepublicDesign RepublicDesign RepublicDesign RepublicPhotos by Dennis Marciniak


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