Lusting after a vintage Bertoia wire chair? Dying for an Eames bent plywood and leather lounge and ottoman? These classic modern pieces are often hard to find, and when you do discover an original piece, its price tag can be astronomical. Bertoia side chairs and barstools cost around $450, while a vintage Eames lounge and ottoman will run you about $4000. Also, as with any retro furniture purchase, you run the risk of buying a piece that has hidden structural damage, or settling for a piece that shows a lot of wear, simply because you want an original. It may cost you still more money to restore a worn vintage piece that already set you back several thousand dollars.
The solution? Reproductions. EZMod Furniture’s Modern Classics line features high-quality, handmade reproductions of classic modern chairs, tables, sofas, barstools and chaises. EZMod’s designer replicas include the Eames molded plastic rocking chair, the Le Corbusier Petit Confort sofa, the Noguchi glass and wood coffee table, and the George Nelson slat bench. Here, an Eames-style lounge and ottoman retails for a much more reasonable $999.99, and Bertoia wire chair reproductions cost only $137.99.
There are further pros and cons to consider when choosing between original and replica furniture: for example, the original Eames rocker is made from fiberglass, while contemporary reproductions are polypropylene. Some vintage aficionados insist the fiberglass version is sturdier and ages better, while others point out that polypropylene is recyclable, and say that its higher level of flexibility makes the chair more comfortable. In other cases, the pieces of furniture will be almost identical in materials and appearance, making it a more prudent choice to select the lower-priced replica piece.
It can be unwise to purchase modern furniture reproductions from just anywhere: the quality can vary drastically, and you may end up with a piece of furniture that isn’t very close to the original design, or is poorly made. Some companies make reproductions according to the original design specifications of each piece. This practice can sometimes ensure that a replica is of high quality, but doesn’t necessarily mean the workmanship will always be good. It’s best to examine a piece in person to confirm it’s made well. In the age of online shopping, this isn’t always possible, which is why you should make sure you buy from a store that allows returns.