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"off the shelf" miniature chairs


PJPickard

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PJPickard

Maybe everyone knows about this, but it was sort of new to me:

 

http://www.vitra.com/en-us/product/miniatures-collection#

 

I saw these back when they were first introduced 20+ years ago. Around that time my heart sunk as I had the idea to make models of many of the chairs they produced. I thought they would be a great sale-able items. Now they have greatly expanded the line and have become collectables, a ebay search for "Vitra miniatures" will turn up many of them. Some of what I thought would be more obscure pieces are in their collections, effectively eliminating those from my list, in fact pretty much every piece I had thought about making is in their collection.

 

The last few years I have been edging closer to begin making some stuff and pretty much everything in the Vitra collection is on my potential list of projects. I know one member , Miniatures makes some of these types of items.

 

The prices from Vitra actually seem quite reasonable...I don't think I could make much per hour at their prices, maybe tooled up for a smallish production run, certainly not one or two.

 

So, my question....would it be worth it to go ahead and make some of these anyway? Or is it time to move on to something else?

 

Thanks for any thoughts you might have....

 

Paul

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Peter Jensen

Paul - They look like beautiful miniatures, but they are in 1/6th scale which would still leave the market open for you in making them in 1/12th.  Especially at the high quality of your museum work.  Peter

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Peter Jensen

Paul - As I think about this a little more the 20th century designs may be subject to reproduction rights.  Vitra may have purchased those to make the full scale furniture and therefore are also able to make the miniatures under their licence.

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PJPickard

I have wondered about the rights....so how does this guy do it?

 

http://www.atomicminiature.com/atomicminiature.com/Home.html

 

Anyone else know anything about the rights issues?

 

You are correct about the scale too of course...I just thought since they exist in one scale it might heavily dilute the desire for the same thing in a diff scale.

 

Thanks for the compliment btw!

 

Paul

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Warren Barnard

I found this when looking up this subject

 

IS IT A KNOCKOFF?
It should be pointed out that furniture is considered a functional object in the US and therefore is NOT protected by copyright laws. Companies such as Modernica in California have been manufacturing "Eames" furniture, especially chairs, that are not officially authentic. As a result they can't use the Eames name on any of the products and the Eames Estate does not receive any royalties. Herman Miller (or Vitra in Europe) has manufactured most of the official Eames' designs since the late 1940s.

 

and

 

In the UK, the copyright of industrial designs expires 25 years after it is issued, whereas in most of the rest of Europe the protection of this intellectual property lasts until 70 years after a designer's death. This has made Britain the ideal market to build a culture of replica furniture.

 

and this is for full size reproductions, I think based on this rational that miniatures of mid 20th century furniture would be fine, but maybe call it based on or inspired by "designer name here" so that you are acknowledging the design. I notice that Louis IV etc furniture is called that, not the designers furniture.

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WeekendMiniaturist

I think from my memory, that copyright for designs lasted for 100 years for items registered in the US.  Patent laws are different for products on the time the product is protected.  The US market for minis is well established, but I wonder what period of time is most profitable for our artisans and vendors.  Bill R mentioned something in one of his posts that French Furniture was the trend in one decade...

 

Regarding demand from collectors... There is always a segment of the market who wants to collect something unusual.  I would think that Art Deco / Macintosh/ Frank Lloyd Wright/Arts & Crafts/Stickley  would have greater demand then the some of the modern chairs.  I love the fact that the Eames chair has been reproduced by Atomic Miniature but I don't have any in real life, so I haven't been able to convince myself I need one in miniature. Having said that I probably wouldn't buy a modern chair from Michael, I have a mini friend that collects miniature chairs - in general.  Conversely, there are purists everywhere in our hobby, so if they are doing a federal structure, they only put period appropriate items in their structure. 

 

I would just make what I like to make, and subscribe to the theory, if you build it they will come.  I need the hobby to at least capture my imagination to keep my on task, and heaven knows I'm not much of a taskmaster when it comes to my hobby.   Do what you love, and then it isn't as much work. 

 

Perhaps a Limited Edition of X chairs in the series will keep your audience?  Do you have a website or blog so we can follow your announcements?

 

Tamra

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PJPickard

All,

 

Thanks for the input...this rights thing is a bugaboo...at least to me, there is no clear, definitive answer it seems.

 

Tamra, no website or blog for this kind of work...what I do "in real life" is here:

 

www.theskillmanworksllc.com

 

Paul

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Here in Denmark we have at least two cases where a miniaturist was told by lawyers to stop making and selling miniature reproductions of famous danish design furniture. 

Some of the Arne Jakobsen furniture is made in scale 1:6 and it took the maker several years to get permission to start production.

/Niels

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