How to Spot a Fake/Replica Swoon Chair
Fake or forgery. Counterfeit or copy. Reproduction, replica or knock-off. All different ways of saying the same thing — taking the creativity and craftsmanship of an artist who created something lithe Swoon chair and trying to reproduce it. And how do you spot a fake or replica Swoon chair?
There is a difference. Some of those ideas apply to attempts to defraud. Others may get away with the concept that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Whichever idea you opt for, anybody in the market for genuine quality needs to be able to tell the difference.
That is just as true if you are buying a piece of furniture from a notable company like Fredericia or splashing out on a Van Gogh painting. There is a world of difference between the real thing and other people’s attempts to cash in.
Keeping things genuine is not just a moral choice either. The difference in the quality of raw materials and the craft skills that go into making something like a Swoon chair make it an investment. The replica won’t look as good, or last as long. By the time you have replaced it several times over, it will probably turn out to be the more expensive option. As proud retailers of the genuine Swoon Lounge Chair please contact us if you have any questions or queries.
- The real thing
- A design classic
- The real Swoon chair
- Types of Swoon chair
- Are replicas really such a bad idea?
- Spotting that fake
- Sleuthing out fakes
- Fakes in more detail
The real thing
Before diving into ways to spot a fake, it’s worth taking a little time to have a look at the real thing. What makes a Fredericia Swoon chair so special and worth the investment?
Like so much high-quality furniture, Space Copenhagen originally designed it for the wear and tear of a commercial setting.
They designed the first chairs for the 11 Howard Hotel in New York, an upmarket boutique hotel. It prides itself on its cutting-edge Scandinavian design and socially conscious approach to hospitality.
What they were looking for were chairs and ottomans with clean, stylish lines that could put up with the heavy day-to-day use of hotel furniture.
Enter designer Nanna Ditzel. She was a remarkable woman and produced a remarkable design for the sofas and chairs for the hotel in a model that came to be called the Swoon style.
She always had a postmodern attitude to design and was notable for rebelling against tradition. Maybe, then, it should not be that much of a surprise that it took the world a while to catch up. As a result, she did not really hit the big time until she was in her 70s.
She came from a background where she had trained as a cabinetmaker before heading for art school, so she was always going to go big on craftsmanship. She was also a pioneer in using fibreglass, wickerwork and foam rubber, which allowed her the flexibility and freedom to express herself in her designs.
In the end, the plaudits did come. She won a gold medal in the International Furniture Design competition in 1990 and won Denmark’s highest design honour, the ID prize, in 1995. The Royal Society of Arts in London elected her as a Royal designer and a lifelong art grant by the Danish Ministry of Culture. Some pedigree!
The real Swoon chair
The chair Nanna Ditzel produced for the hotel 11 Howard had to be both comfortable and stylish. It has a single shell that wraps round the body, merging the back with the seat and the armrests. The hybrid of a lounge chair with an armchair brings perfect comfort as well as the freedom to move.
The Swoon chairs (see the full Swoon collection here) are the main part of the design, but there is an ottoman to go with them. The Swoon Ottoman, which doubles as a pouffe, adds to the look of the room while allowing you to stretch out in comfort. In somewhere like a hotel lobby, it also breaks up the look of the place.
Since we are looking at fake or replica chairs, it is worth adding that, as well as rigorous safety checks, the Swoon range comes with Greenguard Gold certification. That means they don’t give off any chemicals and won’t set off any allergies.
Types of Swoon chair
Apart from the basic chair as designed by Nanna Ditzel, Space Copenhagen has come up with some variations on her basic theme. These are for use in slightly different environments and have a distinct feeling to them without losing the basic Swoon concept.
The first is the Swoon Lounge Petit. As you might guess from the name, this is just a smaller version of the standard model. It comes with a slightly more upright back, which makes it ideal for places where you might want to whip out the laptop and get on with some work before relaxing for a chat over coffee — or maybe something stronger.
The third version is aimed more at a work environment and comes with a swivel base instead of the standard legs. This makes it ideal when you want to relax but also be able to turn and access a desk. As with the primary base, it comes in both the standard and the Petit styles.
Are replicas really such a bad idea?
The decision is, of course, entirely yours, but the old adage “if it looks too good to be true, it probably is” holds as much for furniture as for everything else in life. Cheap is not always cheerful.
There also are other reasons to reject the whole fake market. The reproduction cannot be exact, so you are not really getting the same thing. When it comes to price, your options are to choose between something with a quality feel or to go for the cheapest option. If you go for quality, you will pay almost as much as for the real thing, so why bother?
If, on the other hand, you try to save money, you will get inferior quality in every respect. By the time you have repaired and replaced the item several times, you will have spent more than you would have done on a quality original while having to put up with something that is not quite right. All that is without considering the ethics of picking a design that in effect steals somebody else’s ideas and tries to trade on another company’s hard-won reputation for craftsmanship.
The easiest way to see how to spot a fake or replica Swoon chair also the most obvious. Just look for the label. Fredericia always identifies its products, and just a quick peek underneath is all it takes to establish if the label is there. If it is, you have all the certainty of a certified original. The label contains all the information you need encoded into it, including the date of manufacture, the exact wood used — if relevant — and details about the fabric covering the chair.
If you are buying from a reputable retailer like Olson and Baker, we guarantee you the real thing, but trouble may arise if you are trying to shop around or are into the second-hand market.
Sleuthing out fake or replica Swoon chairs
Then, you may need to turn into more of a detective and inspect the item for those telltale signs that it is, in fact, a fake.
If you are buying the standard Swoon model with wooden legs, that is a good place to start. Fredericia uses only the highest quality hardwood — oak or walnut — in their products. The grain will run the length of the leg and be strong and even. Knots and other signs of cheaper wood or less care in selecting only the best cuts are a dead giveaway.
Not all styles have wooden legs and even when they do, some are coated in lacquer, so you may have to look further.
Fakes or replica Swoon chairs in more detail
The next thing to examine in seeing how to spot a fake or replica Swoon chair is the symmetry and angle of the legs. Looked at from the front, the rear and front legs should splay at exactly the same angle. Any variation and it is time to get suspicious.
The next thing to look at is the quality of the fabric. Fredericia makes the Swoon chairs to be luxurious and the cloth or leather cover reflects this. Just run your finger along it and see how it feels. Any unevenness, roughness, bumps, or roughness should ring alarm bells.
Finally, look at the stitching. The real Swoon chair is crafted with care, and the people putting it together take their time to make sure the stitching is strong and even. Again, any signs of unevenness, the seams pulling apart or bunching and the alarms should be sounding.
Remember, the cushions are part of the chair and should not move. If they are at all loose, be suspicious.
Swoon chairs are a top-of-the-range brand used by Space Copenhagen as part of their minimalist design concept. Nanna Ditzel designed them for simplicity and comfort and they should give years of active life even in a busy environment such as a hotel lobby.
Fakes or replicas offer only a superficial resemblance and won’t match the real thing in strength or comfort. It is easy to see how to spot a fake or replica Swoon chair. You only have to look at the quality of workmanship to tell the difference.
Buying an Original Swoon Lounge Chair
Olson and Baker are proud retailers of only genuine, authentic Swoon collection, manufactured by Fredericia and designed by Space Copenhagen. To purchase the Swoon Lounge Chair simply visit our product pages. Alternatively, please contact us if you have any questions or queries regarding this iconic, timeless, design. Furthermore, should you wish for more information on the Swoon Lounge Chair, including a deeper look into the history of the chair, the wood and fabric or leather options available, video content on how the Swoon Chair came to be, a subjective look at how comfortable the Swoon Lounge Chair is, the efforts made by Fredericia towards sustainable manufacturing practices etc… please visit our comprehensive Swoon Chair page.