Preserving ‘Originality’: A new 2nd-hand design economy?

In 2007, furniture maker started a 2nd Cycle line, which essentially resells second-hand mid-century modernist furniture.

According to its website:

“By creating the 2nd Cycle Artek wants to raise the issue of conscious consuming, praise the authentic design and honour the importance of originality. Solidly made and impervious to fashion, these iconic pieces of furniture have gained value and beauty through their everyday use.”

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It’s interesting to see a furniture manufacturer enter the second-hand market, but it makes perfect sense when you think of it as part of a larger strategy to preserve the authenticity of its brand or “aura”. Given how digital technologies will make it easier for people to copy 3D designs, one way companies have tried to protect their designs is to educate consumers. A store like 2nd-hand Artek legitimises what is “original”, highlights the quality in “authentic” design, and fortifies the premium value the brand can command. Herman Miller has also been running, Discovering Design, a kind of design education programme that places its furniture line in context of a larger history.

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