nice chair
May 14, 2008 3:39 PM   Subscribe

I want to buy two Barcelona® chairs, but $5000 each is ridiculous. Is there a physical or online store that sells modern and classic modern furniture at reasonable prices?
posted by plexi to Shopping (16 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
posted by jimw at 3:46 PM on May 14, 2008

Your question cancels itself out, no?
Do you want a buy a Barcelona chair(remember you put the registration symbol on there), or a chair that looks more or less like one and is cheaper? These are not the same thing.

It is possible to find some DWR stuff a bit cheaper at other places(eg. 2Modern), but generally not by such a large amount that you'd be likely to drop the "ridiculous."
posted by Su at 3:48 PM on May 14, 2008

Try this site--prices are pretty reasonable
posted by Zebtron at 3:49 PM on May 14, 2008

Barcelona knock-offs are legion. Even Overstock had them at one point.
posted by milkrate at 3:53 PM on May 14, 2008

The Barcelona at Circa50 start at around $3600. What jimw linked is a knockoff.
posted by Su at 3:53 PM on May 14, 2008

Apparently not given that someone found the exact same thing for almost 90% less within minutes.


don't ever buy fakes expecting authentic anything. materials are crap, construction is compromised. 5k is too high but if you expect to pay 90% less and get the same quality, call and let me know how things are aboard the good ship lollypop.
posted by patricking at 3:55 PM on May 14, 2008

also, forgot to say. i got su's eames lounge from circa 50. small family owned business, no shipping charges and no sales tax.
posted by patricking at 3:59 PM on May 14, 2008

Eurway has reasonably priced modern furniture.
posted by necessitas at 3:59 PM on May 14, 2008

don't ever buy fakes expecting authentic anything.

Well, that's a tautology.

materials are crap, construction is compromised.

Even assuming that the authorized® version™ has more "quality," does it have 6.5× more? I doubt it.
posted by grouse at 4:30 PM on May 14, 2008

Even assuming that the authorized® version™ has more "quality," does it have 6.5× more? I doubt it.

Have you ever seen or sat in one of those knockoffs? They generally have sub-Ikea build quality-- thin metal tubing that bends at the slightest stress, cheap webbing that detaches from the frame if you look at it funny, etc. Basically, the kind of furniture that lasts a year or two if you're lucky and don't subject it to heavy use.

The authorized reproductions, on the other hand, are built with care, craftsmanship, and, most importantly, durable materials. They can-- and do-- last decades.

So, to answer your question, yes they do have MORE than 6.5x the quality.
posted by dersins at 4:39 PM on May 14, 2008

The authorized reproductions, on the other hand, are built with care, craftsmanship, and, most importantly, durable materials. They can-- and do-- last decades.

Note that the Barcelona Chair linked in the question isn't "reproduction" anything--it's the totally real shit, part of DWR's "licensed classics".
posted by LionIndex at 4:46 PM on May 14, 2008

Not sure you can get the Barcelona for less than $4K, unless you go for something used.

Even the 1:6 scale model of the Barcelona is $400.

I guess the answer to this depends on what you consider a "reasonable" price, and what you consider "modern" and "classic modern." If you consider IKEA or Eurway "modern" or "classic modern", then you can find cheaper stuff there.

Crate & Barrel has some newer furniture that fits into the modern style, and is much less expensive; it's not all leather and meticulously-contoured-metal like the Barcelona, but may be worth a look. And they're definitely not cheaply made.

You might even get lucky at a place like Macy's.

Look up the "modern furniture" on craigslist, and you'll find a bunch of dealers of such furniture (some legit, some knock-off, some used).

Good luck.
posted by jabberjaw at 6:31 PM on May 14, 2008

Licensed modern furniture is very carefully controlled. It doesn't go on sale (doesn't need to, and perhaps, like with perfume, sales might lower the perceived value). Brand new, your best case scenario is free shipping or 10% off at stores like DWR.

Your best bet for a cheaper original iis Ebay or Craigslist. I've seen some amazing deals on Craigslist, but I do live in LA, so YCLMV!

There are varying levels of knock-offs, from the pretty good, to the sub-Ikea. If the idea doesn't bother you, why not look for a good one? But I would never, ever, buy a knock-off without trying it out (although the Barcelona is famously uncomfortable, so that removes part of the test!).
posted by crabintheocean at 6:33 PM on May 14, 2008

seconding ebay. i found a paulistano lounge there for $900. dwr had just marked it up from its original price of 1200 to 1500 plus their shipping fees and sales tax which would have put it at around 1800.
posted by patricking at 6:56 PM on May 14, 2008

As a data point: I bought a pair of $100 Stam Delta chair copies a couple years ago. Cheap leather which not only failed to break in but which has now failed along some seams from regular use. Authentic Delta chairs would've set me back $400 ea or so.

Even ugly, overstuffed "contemporary" leather furniture is expensive, so there's only so much you can cheap out on reproductions before you get into materials that won't stand up.
posted by mendel at 6:24 AM on May 15, 2008

Wow way late to the discussion but I hope someone stumbles upon this (I found it looking for "Barcelona knockoff" on google).

ALL BARCELONA CHAIRS MADE TODAY ARE KNOCK-OFFS. There's no such thing as "real thing" unless you're talking about the originally manufactured chairs. There's no copyright on this, no patent. The chair was made in fucking 1929.

I hate, hate all this pretentious bullshit about buying "licensed" products. All marketing. Well there may be some quality control, but nowhere near enough to make up for the price difference. The dirty secret is usually this:

1. High end retailer makes "licensed reproduction" and contacts factory in China.
2. Eventually high end retailer stops selling the "limited edition" production. For a variety of reasons.
3. Uh oh now the Chinese factory has all this experience but no fancy retail channel (this is a problem with many Chinese businesses). No fancy retail outlet means no huge markups. But they figure that eliminating minor feature x and y, while at the same moving to a cheaper vendor for parts (probably less quality) they can sell at such a low price point people will buy from them!
4. Chinese factory still in business

Keep in mind you are paying something for licensed repo's, but nowhere near 6.5x (or whatever) price differential. Maybe 1.5x. For furniture like this, unless you are buying an original you are buying a most likely no longer patented piece of furniture. For mass produced furniture what is the difference between an Italian sofa and a Chinese sofa of the same design? $1000. ha.

That's not to say price/quality relationship is flat, it just is incredibly distorted. And yes you can get bad knock offs, but don't be deceived into thinking you are buying "the real thing" from DWR or the like. The "real thing" is most likely $12k and sitting on eBay.

In fact if you're ever curious about whether something is "the real thing" try looking it up on eBay. The general rule of thumb I go by: if it holds little or no resell value, treat it as disposable. Oh and buy the second cheapest thing, but that may be just superstition on my part.

Actual conversation, between a snob who thinks design is exclusively for the wealthy and myself:

Snob: Oh what a beautiful Eames piece! (looks at real Eames that cost a butt load)
Me: Thanks! I got it from a dead relative, they kept it in the basement. They didn't even know it was worth anything.
(Snob looks at "construction" really checks for tag to make sure that it is actually an Eames piece)
Me: Let me show some other funirture. (shows snob $250 knock-off bench)
Snob: You have quite the taste! Blah blah blah this a really pretty piece. I saw this on exhibition at the MoMa
Me: Ha! I bought it on White on White!

That came out kind of weird. But I hope to save people from "saving up" for what the think is something valuable. Unless you want to stick your receipt to it, go with whatever looks most like the original (or spend your $10k you wanted to put in your 401k and spend it on furniture and treat it like an investment).
posted by geoff. at 3:16 PM on July 17, 2008

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