Seems like there’s quite a row going on over at Reluct regarding this foxy branching-bulb chandelier design. Dutch designer Chris Kabel published the version on the left in 2002, calling it the 1toTree Lamp (so punny!). The design was nominated for the Rotterdam Design Prize in 2003 and is part of the Amsterdam City Museum of Modern Art collection. Understandably, Chris was none to happy to see a very similar design pop up last week on Reluct by German design company Buro Fur Form:
The lamps are undeniably similar, but the question is, did Buro Fur Form copy Kabel? Buro Fur Form claims the similarity of the design is just coincidence – and honestly I would not be surprised if this was the case. It’s an old cliché that there are no new ideas in design. I’ve seen it happen on several occasions where designers in totally different places come up with the same idea independently of each other. However you have to wonder in this case…especially considering how well known Kabel’s work is. Certainly raises some interesting issues around the intellectual property of general aesthetic ideas.
For the record, I prefer Kabel’s design, because it’s funny and unexpected, using a familiar old product in a new way. It looks like regular lightbulbs gone bezerk – multiplying and sprouting like foliage. The Buro Fur Form version is a little too slick in my opinion. What do you think?