Our living room is nothing extraordinary right now. It’s a room with our furniture in it and a TV. Ever since we did the walls and floors, that’s about it for achievements.
I did, however, acquire some kilim cushions. All the way from Turkey, even.
There’s a lot of reasons to like them: one-of-a-kind, durable, re-use of vintage materials, great geometric patterns. They have character. I can buy them directly from Turkish sellers on eBay, where they assure you that these cushions are handmade using 50+ year old rugs. So that’s cool.
My favourite is the blue and tan stripe one. Like desert and sea.
We’ve got these big, squashy brown couches, and standard 40cm (16”) cushions just look puny and misplaced on them. These big guys – two of them 60cm (24”) square – suit the ginormous scale of these couches, with a few of the smaller ones in around them for colour. Big couch, big pillow, old blankets with ultra-majestic illustrations of horses on them. Cozy.
Yeah, the cushions are a little bit scratchy, since they’re made from wool kilims and all, but I like their roughness. I might not rub my face all over them (or maybe I will) but they’re just right for us.
Speaking of cliche design decisions… look at the dining chairs we just got.
Are they fakes? Oh hell yeah. Come on, these were literally almost a tenth of the cost of licensed repros. I really like ‘em and I’m certainly not going to claim that they’re something they’re not. I’m okay with my tacky fake designer furniture, thanks.
There are very good arguments for buying the licensed designs: they guarantee a better standard of craftsmanship; they retain their value; and they respect the designers’ intellectual property. And then there’s all the other arguments I’ve read, which are painfully snobby and classist. I agree with what they said over at Retrowhirl: “While we don’t advocate buying fake designs by current designers we strongly believe that reproduction designs of furniture where the creation was either made a long, long time ago or by designers that have long since died is fair. It democratises and makes designs available to the masses.” THANK YOU.
The chairs I got are okay, in terms of quality. Not fantastic, not terrible, just “okay.” But here’s the thing: even these plastic pieces of junk reflect the good design principles of the original Eames eiffel chairs. The moulded seats are ergonomic and comfortable; they don’t need cushioning. It’s a timeless design that doesn’t look anchored to one particular style, era, or level of formality. In fact, I really didn’t want clunky, formal “dining table” chairs, since our (incoming!) dining table will be multi-functional. These chairs appeal to me because of the design itself, not because I’m trying to impress people.
(I would also like to point out that the Eames’ designs were meant to be mass-produced and affordable, especially with chairs like these, which only adds to my disgust with the idea that only the affluent can afford good design. This is not the same thing as Forever 21 or Urban Outfitters ripping off a small-time illustrator and denying them money and exposure. Different circumstances entirely, here. But I really don’t want to open up a debate about the ethics of design.)
One day, if I ever become a part of the ‘professional class’, I’m sure I’ll budget for the good stuff. But right now, we’re getting our house all furnished. Our dining table is currently on order, so it won’t be long before this little gathering looks less scattered!