Roughly Drawn Chair By Cohda

September 25, 2006

Roughly Drawn Chair By Cohda
Green living is important everywhere. People here in Germany are very eco-conscious, even on the streets you’ll spot trash cans that are split into three sections for sorting paper from glass and plastics, etc. At the grocery store, you’ll need to either bring your own or purchase a bag to use for your groceries, although very few Germans actually purchase them as they come equipped with a fabric bag or basket to use instead. Also of note, you must bag your own groceries here, the clerk only handles the cash, you are responsible for the bagging. I love this because I’m never satisfied with the way baggers handle things back home, bruising fruit and crushing bread, so now I have full responsibility over how things are packed and I actually prefer this. I know, quirky…

Back on the subject of green, Cohda launched a chair made only from reshaped plastic, giving a purpose to all of the bottle caps,and packaging we discard each day. It’s called the Roughly Drawn Chair, and as the name denotes, it reminds oneof a rough sketch, almost something a child (or me!) would draft. These chairs are available in black (my choice), green,or grey and are sold for around $325 USD. They have a table, too. You like?

(image from cohda)


  • Reply Elaine September 25, 2006 at 4:51 pm

    Me too, I’m with you on the packing your own groceries idea. I like it too. Especially the places back in Boston that would pack it all in one bag as if you were driving, never packing them for walkers. At least NY honors the walkers!

  • Reply looking for something new September 26, 2006 at 5:29 am

    It’s always good to see more and more use of recycled materials. But pretty pathetic to see that people can’t come up with their own design vision. This chair, aesthetically, is like a bad copy of Knotted Chair by Marcel Wanders, or Vermelha by the Campana Brothers. I know they said they want to be innovative (Cohda), but uh…

  • Reply decor8 September 26, 2006 at 8:56 am

    looking for something new – i understand your frustration, as i feel this a lot of times with everything in the world, from music to automobiles. furniture and accessories are so often victims of ‘knock off’.

    the issue i have, not with your comment really, but in general, is that we do not know for certain that cohda wasn’t being innovative. i recently was watching the commentary for amelie, and the director mentioned that there’s a scene in amelie that is nearly the same as a scene from an m night movie – i think unbreakable… anyway, the director stated he loves m night’s work and in no way was it a copy, both movies released at the same time, so it was impossible for it to be a copy anyway.

    i guess my point is, we don’t always know who thought of something first, and we certainly can’t discredit someone altogether for having a similiar idea. another flip side to consider is that just because something ‘appears’ to be a copy may actually be the one who DID have the original idea – perhaps cohda sketched out this idea 10 years ago but didn’t have the resources to bring their design to fruition.

    i guess what i’m saying is that we have to be careful who we discredit in the business. we can’t pass rumor that someone is a bad copy of someone else because we really DO NOT KNOW for certain. that’s why i try to keep decor8 neutral when it comes to this. just something to think about, i’m in no way jumping on you and appreciate your comment very much. :)

  • Reply looking for something new September 26, 2006 at 6:25 pm

    Well, the Knotted Chair is such a famous chair as is Vermelha, that I would find it very hard to believe that these designers had no idea of them. They came out so long ago, it’s not a matter of two movies being produced at the same time. And the example you give proves that one director admired another director’s work.

    I think, though, that you misunderstood (or I didn’t make it clear, sorry) my point which was not that they were copying, I never thought that, but that the end product was so reminiscent of these other products that it takes the aesthetic appeal out of the chair for *me*. I have a feeling that it may not be easy to use reshaped plastic…!! So that’s a point in their favor, but it’s just not stimulating. There is nothing new out there, almost.

    And I think that decor8 should actually, as part of integrity and respect for the design field, take a position on these types of issues because a lot of designers work hard to make sure that their products are original– it’s called research, and sometimes it means scrapping an idea you find out isn’t original– and those who put copies out there, those who copy, those who take inspiration from others’ things so much so they are almost identical, or just plain copy and act like it’s no big deal or that it’s just another product option to put alongside the original really do a disservice and is a punch in the kidneys to those who work hard.

    just my two cents, and thanks for making such a long response to me. I’m sorry if it seemed as though I said they were copying.

  • Reply decor8 September 26, 2006 at 7:32 pm

    looking for something new –
    First off, let me say that I’m really enjoying this dialogue, so thank you for coming back to this post and replying.

    Next, the example I gave wasn’t to prove one director’s respect for anothers work, it was to show that both directors thought the same thing and only AFTER the fact, did they realize they both thought of it. My point was, not everyone is 100% original – no one is so unique that they weren’t SOMEHOW influenced by someone or something else.

    I understand how you feel and your position on this chair though – I know when I see items that look like an Adler knock off, I get a bit upset because I think it’s unfair to him – walk the aisles of Target and even West Elm and you see SO many designer knock-offs, it’s almost a joke. But, I’m quickly reminded by history that even Adler himself was inspired by styles from times past and some of his own designs, I recall seeing back in the 60s and 70s – my mother had vases – almost exact copies – of what Adler creates today with his name on it. Am I against that? Not at all. It’s his own fresh interpretation that I’m interested, and he delivers that very well. His work doesn’t appear to be an exact copy of anything. An exact copy would discredit him as a designer in my eyes. But, he doesn’t appear to be a copycat, so I praise his work and speak of him highly here on decor8.

    I’m not sure if Cohda is in fact a copycat. I’m not going to research this or comment on their motive because no one would ever confess to it anyway, right? Plus, I’m not here to speak negatively about others. I see a lot of things I don’t like in the design world, and I just leave it off the blog altogether.

    decor8 is meant to inspire, direct readers to interesting new products, and help those who aren’t in the design field to become more design savvy so they can become an informed consumer AND be able to locate beautiful items. I want readers to walk into a store and be able to identify brands, know a bit about the designers behind them – I guess my goal is to train the eye and warm the heart. I know this sounds so sugar sweet, but I really mean it. I want decor8 to inspire creativity, passion for desire, educate readers, and I want to be here to offer advice and help in regards to design and decorating.

    There are SO many blogs out there, many of which do a great job at voicing their opinions (both positive and negative) regarding designs. I respect them for doing this very much. But, it’s just a bloggers opinion. No one is THE design authority. I could never sleep at night if I said someone was a copycat and they totally suck – only to find out that my opinion wasn’t even factual – and they ultimately lost business. I know blogs have a great impact on others’ reputation, and bad news carries fast, so I’m extremely careful not to trash people. I hope you understand this.

  • Reply looking for something new September 26, 2006 at 8:04 pm

    Yes, I’ll respond one more time then stop because I don’t want to monopolize your time or your blogs.

    (1) I repeat that I did not say that Cohda was copying nor did I think it.

    (2) I do not think you have to trash anyone or anything in order to PROMOTE a concept of originality. It is possible to be positive without alluding to anything negative.

    (3) In my opinion, it is ok for places like Target or IKEA to produce designs that are reminiscent of ‘name brand’ designer stuff because it is bringing design ‘quality’ to those who like the look but can’t afford high-end prices, and I don’t really consider that ‘copying’ in the same sense. But a designer who doesn’t do research to verify that a design they are bringing to market isn’t a copy isn’t really adding much to the market nor are they respecting their colleagues… All of the “good” designers do research to verify that what they do is original and they have no problems scrapping designs which even come close to giving the appearance of ‘copying’.

    Of course it’s your right to disagree and say that “who’s to say who came up with the idea first” — that’s not the issue. We all have ideas, but if there is a whole corps of designers out there who decide for themselves that if someone else has done it and put it on the market before they can then it’s not worth putting on the market, where is the difficulty in you seeing that as well? I’m not exactly sure I understand what you’re trying to defend by not taking a position, or rather by publicly saying you won’t take a position (maybe privately you have a position). In fact, there’s no harm in having the idea first or afterwards or at the same time. It becomes harmful when you produce it after someone else has. There are laws against that, even laws against producing something that evokes the same idea. I know designers who are dealing with it now, the problems of copying that goes across borders and then it’s hard to enforce internationally. Just having had an idea is not defensible (is that a word?).

    Anyway, sorry, I don’t want this conversation to seem serious or that I’m annoyed or that I’m angry.

    Healthy differences of opinion are good, and I notice you never post them on your blog, but I’m sure they happen!! It gives people a chance to learn more about you!

    Anyway, thanks for ‘talking’!

    (and if you don’t want to post this comment, I’d understand!)

  • Reply decor8 September 26, 2006 at 8:46 pm

    looking for something new –

    again, thank you for taking the time to post. You’re certainly not taking up my time, I really like having this discussion with you. I wish I knew more about you, your name, what you do, etc. because it would help me a bit to know you better as well.

    I’m glad you made the 1st and 2nd points, now I understand. You’re right, I didn’t catch those points the first time around! :)

    I actually understand very well how it works legally and all the details surrounding copyright protection – that’s why designers are encouraged to purchase the legal protection that they need in order to protect themselves, and I greatly encourage designers to do so – they can then legally defend themselves if legal action was ever taken against them. For instance, they could prove to the court through records, drawings, dated records, copyright registration, trademark info, etc what’s what so they are able to protect themselves. My friend is an artist and as soon as she became well known, her friend claimed it was in fact HER illustrations. They had to go to court. Records weren’t even enough. The judge requested they both sketch in court to see who the ‘fake’ really was. Interesting, huh?

    Thing is, I’m not a judge. I’m a writer. I’m a designer. I most definitely have a STRONG opinion on many things I see and experiences – for me not to have opinions would be a bit of a waste of my time and yours that I even bother blogging. Everything I write about is filtered through my strainer – meaning, I decide what I like and write about it – that’s the beauty of a blog, NO ONE influences what I write about. No one pays me to write for them or about them. I write what I enjoy or have an interest in. That’s why so many enjoy blogs, sometimes even more so than magazines, because many of us are posting from the heart. Although, I must say, the bigger blogs get and the more ties they have with major publishing houses, blogs may not always have the same clout as they do now – they may in fact transform into mini online magazines that are biased at times. I could care less about what other blogs do though, to each his own, I’m more concerned about ensuring that my design eye is not being influenced by dollar signs. In other words, what I write about are products I really love and would either use in my own home, or in the homes of those whom I design for.

    It’s been really great talking to you. Who are you anyway? What do you do for work, you seem to have a lot to say about design, I wonder if you are in the field yourself in some capacity?


  • Reply Anonymous September 26, 2006 at 9:31 pm

    Don’t you think having ads on your site means that you’re under the influence of something? I don’t think any sites are any more biased than others because they write for other magazines. Does that mean that you think Apartment Therapy isn’t relevant because they write columns for magazines? I’d be shocked if you really felt that way. Do you think your blog would be less relevant if you were offered a magazine column for say, Hearst?


  • Reply decor8 September 26, 2006 at 10:41 pm

    Hi Kit!!!

    I see what you mean about ads, but most blogs (from what I see) aren’t influenced by our sponsors. I don’t sense that anyway. Seems most bloggers just write about what they love and that’s the end of it.

    For my site, sponsors pay for ad space, not editorial coverage. I think this is the same on all blogs, right?

    Oh, and of course I don’t think blogs that write for magazines are biased and irrelevant, if I thought that I certainly wouldn’t have a ‘blog of the week’, blogroll, and constantly be referring to and promoting other great blogs. Right?

    I am referring more to the FUTURE of blogs, aka online publishing, and the direction in which it is heading. I see many publications adding blogs to their sites, which for the time being, appears to be very beneficial and extremely educational. I just love ScrappyGirl over at Domino and the Metropolis blog. Both are gems.

    My point was, and let’s be real here, when something (like blogging) becomes popular and then starts to generate ad revenue, corporations start to catch on and this can often cause things to shift. That’s why I wonder if blogs will always be what they currently are, people talking about design and what they love. In 5 or 10 years, this may not be the case. Who is to say, when commerce is involved?

    I didn’t bring them up, but since you mentioned Apartment Therapy, let me make it clear that Maxwell is someone whom I respect dearly. He is the pioneer of design blogging and I actually think most of us little design blogs wouldn’t have a chance without AT leading the way. To me, the guy walks on water, and of course, I am friendly with others on the AT staff and speak highly of them, as well (Janel, Heather, Vanessa, Jon – all great people). I think AT is the best site out there, hands down.

    Hope that clarifies things a bit. If not, feel free to ask me for additional clarification, no problem at all. :)


  • Reply Anonymous September 26, 2006 at 11:03 pm

    I don’t like the chair. It’s kinda spooky in A Nightmare Before Christmas kinda way.

    I’m with you, I love apartment therapy. It is really fun to look at.

    Hope you are having a good time in Germany. You are such a lucky girl.

    Hugs from Atlanta,


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