Information about design classics

Definition design classic

Nowadays, design is certainly an inflationary term. Everything is design. Nonetheless, we consider design classics to be those pieces that were pioneering for their time, whether it was the form, the workmanship or the manufacturing process. Hiding behind each piece is the exciting story of the artist, the manufacturer, the spirit of the times, or economic successes or failures.

For example, the steel pipe classics of the Bauhaus movement were initially only produced in very limited quantities. The so-called “skin and bone chairs” were only popular amongst a small intellectual minority. The rest of the population more or less rejected the chairs, and when the Nazis seized power, many of the designers were forced into immigration. Only many years later did these classics gain their earned popularity.

What’s the difference between an original and a copy?

At Markanto, you will only find pieces from licensed manufacturers. This means that the designer (or his descendants) has authorized a respective manufacturer to produce and distribute his work. The manufacturer normally pays a licensing fee for this. The history of design is, therefore, often the history of the close collaboration between designer and manufacturer. For instance, the company Wilde and Spieth has been producing the creations of Prof. Egon Eiermann for over 50 years. In the 30’s, the company Artek was co-founded by the couple Aino and Alvar Aalto to distribute their furniture. And the success of Knoll International is hardly imaginable without Florence Knoll and the straight-lined “International Style” she developed.

On the web page from Vitra you can find a useful information about the differences between the original and the copies by chairman Rolf Fehlbaum: