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Knock offs, replicas, fakes and copies. Or maybe a design that appears just a bit close to the original. Whatever you call them, copyright will always be an issue in the design industry that trades on the value of the original.
Original designs represent a true partnership – between a design house understanding its own brand ethos and customers, and a designer with a clear creative vision and the technical ability to bring that vision to life.

An original design is an expression of collaboration and a desire to create something unique. It’s a love of craft, reflected in the attention to detail of its form. At UFL, we carry many products of such collaborations. Pierre Paulin for Artifort, Patricia Urquiola for Andreu World, Karim Rashid for Sancal, Eero Aarnio for Vondom and Lievore Altherr Molina for Arper to name but a tiny selection. Their contemporary designs have become iconic pieces among design cognoscenti and lovers of beautiful things.

“If you want to be original, be ready to be copied.”


– Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel

Why is choosing original furniture design so important?

It recognises and respects that a product is more than simply an object. That it’s the result of a complex journey that begins with an idea, a concept, and travels through development, prototyping, testing, manufacture, and marketing. In short, a huge creative and financial investment. Buying an original ensures the proceeds and recognition for that piece go to those who own the intellectual property, and have given their professional lives to its creation. 

Original designs tend to have a company behind them that manufactures with care for the environment, uses quality materials and considers the entire lifespan of the product – in decades rather than years. This company is more likely to value the creativity and craft skills of its team, and provide working conditions that reflect this.

Originals outlast

Not all original designs have the instantly recognisable silhouette of an Eames Lounge Chair or Pierre Paulin Ribbon. But originals do retain a timeless quality. At UFL, we believe it’s worthwhile investing in original design pieces. As well as bringing pleasure through their form and function, they last longer, age more gracefully and have the potential to become future collector’s items. 

What about locally made?

If for whatever reason a client prefers to choose a locally made piece over an imported European original, this is a fantastic opportunity to engage and brief local design talent to create a new original piece. It’s better for our local design industry when we encourage and incentivise original thinking from New Zealand furniture designers. 

Protecting the intellectual property of designers and manufacturers funds and furthers experimentation and innovation with materials, production processes and sustainable practices – assuring the future of a more responsible industry.

If you’re thinking about specifying original European furniture design, we’d love to help, and are here to answer any questions.

We also offer flexible, creative financing options, to bring these exceptional, original pieces within reach.

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