It is indicative of the image of designer furniture in contemporary society that media outlets across Europe have picked up on the fact that in connection with the recently published “Wealth Decelerations” by the French Cabinet, Industry Renewal Minister Arnaud Montebourg has revealed he owns an Eames Lounge Chair.
Indeed the online platform from German magazine Der Spiegel illustrated the publication of the Declarations with an image of an Eames Lounge Chair in one its first reports!
While the fascination with Monsieur Montebourg and his Eames Lounge Chair is almost certainly related to the fact it is one of the few revelations of what is hidden behind the figures – the revelation isn’t in the official documents but from an interview in Le Monde – it does highlight the widely held view that possession of designer furniture is somehow an indication of unreachable, and potentially unjust, wealth.
Yes, an object such as an Eames Lounge Chair may cost more than most people would normally consider paying for a piece of furniture.
However do a cost:lifetime analysis and it suddenly doesn’t look sssooo much when compared to the alternatives.
The investment in an Eames Lounge Chair is an invetsment in an object that will not only accompany you until your last breath. But also you children. And, and assuming everyone takes care of it, their children.
And then there is the material investment.
If you look at the Ministerial Declarations you will find, for example, that European Affairs Minister Thierry Repentin bought a Renault Scenic in 2009 for Euro 26,700. It is now worth Euro 8,500.
Now while Arnaud Montebourg is unlikely to recoup the ca. Euro 4,300 he paid in 1988 for his Eames Lounge Chair, he’s certainly not going to be looking at a 66% depreciation.
And don’t we want politicians who make sensible economic decisions? Especially in the current climate?
For us part of the problem that leads to such a fascination with the ownership of a design classic such as the Eames Lounge Chair is the way such objects are advertised or generally medially presented.
All too often designer furniture is presented as something other worldly. Exclusive. Not for the likes of you young lady……
As we’ve said before, and will repeat until our teeth fall out, if manufacturers were to reject the tired, agency motivated imagery, and instead concentrate more on explaining the quality of the materials used, the quality of the craftsmanship involved, the length of the design process, the investment in machines required to create their objects, etc, etc, etc the public would understand the price. And would adore the objects even more as a touch of luxury in the midst of their grey, unfulfilled lives.
In this context the Lounge Chair Atelier in the VitraHaus is a wonderful development as it allows visitors to not only see, and feel, how a Vitra Lounge Chair is assembled, but also to speak to the staff and so learn a little more about the people behind the objects.
So we say, lay of Monsieur Montebourg! He had the free capital in 1988 and for us he made a wise and sensible investment.
And in terms of unfettered decadency: Justice Minister Christiane Taubira admits to owning three bicycles.
Qu’ils mangent de la brioche! indeed……