Cohda Speaks Up!

I recently wrote about the Roughly Drawn Chair, a new design by Cohda in the UK. I was fond of the design, and like anything else I find appealing, I felt the need to share it with decor8 readers to get your thoughts on it.

Whenever I post, comments range from "this is great" to "it's not really my taste", both of which I respect and have deep appreciation for - your comments impact me, the designers, and each and every one of our readers. The differences of opinion that we freely exchange here on decor8 is what makes the blog more interesting. I encourage more of you to openly share your views on the designs I post. One of the best things about blogs is that we aren't static websites, rather interactive ones that have a genuine pulse. It's fun to learn from one another and to gain a new perspective. It's very helpful to designers to learn about what others have to say about their work, the mini reviews that you leave via your comments is of great benefit to them. Designers appreciate it when you leave constructive criticism. On the flipside, detailing why you appreciate the design is also helpful.

Unfortunately, you'll always find a few readers that, for whatever reason, post comments that, whether knowingly or not, challenge the integrity of a design, which can lead to other readers forming suspicions about the product themselves. I think it is unfair to speak against anyone if they are not in the room to defend themselves, so to speak. After I posted about the Roughly Drawn Chair and a few anonymous comments sprung up calling the design "pathetic" and "a bad copy", I felt the need to give Cohda a heads-up. I was hoping they'd want to get involved in the conversation, and I'm so happy that they've replied. Here's what they had to say:

From Cohda to decor8 readers -

It's wonderful that there has been such debate surrounding our recycled designs. As some of the comments have raised concerns as to the innovation and possible copycat inspiration, we thought we would try and answer a few of these issues. We thought it also appropriate to forward more detailed shots of the work to limit confusion. We have added an image of our new Blood Seat launching later in the year and would welcome any additional comments.

Blood Seat

Our work has evolved through a long period of research into the growing problems surrounding domestic plastic packaging waste in the UK. This is a huge problem with hundreds of thousands of tones of plastics waste being land filled annually. With very little public understanding as to the problem and the most notable recycled designs produced in the 1990's we felt there needed to be a re awakening. The majority of recycled plastic designs have been limited to flat pack construction so we set about creating a process that would engage the public once again whilst braking from the traditional forms associated with recycled design. One of our key designers has undertaken two years of research at the Royal College of Art in London developing the new processes and bespoke tooling methods required for the work.

This in-depth research has let to the U.R.E process, which we use to re-form
waste plastics (bottle packaging and milk crates) direct into useable designs and unique forms. No virgin materials are used to create any part of our designs and therefore have a 100% recycled makeup. This also means that they can be recycled once more at a future date. We are also in the process of devising live exhibits to being scheduled for 2007 where the public will be part of the process, able to bring along their plastic waste and have transformed back into a design instantly. Thus eliminating large sections of the recycling process, saving vast energy and resource. Not innovative? You be the judge.

Additionally with reference to the comparative designs, as you may or may not be aware the wonderful Marcel wanders chair is produced in carbon fiber strands and the Campana brothers Vermelha was made from cotton rope and steel, so we find it a little odd that our designs have been compared so easily as bad copies or other designs despite not using any processes or materials even remotely similar.

We agree that there are blatant inspired designs out there on the market that offer a nod to the work of more influential designs and designers, but this series of work if far from that.

We worked exceptionally hard to develop unique process and designs, putting
vast resources into the project. With the designs now receiving strong admiration for their environmental objectives and innovative use of waste materials we fell we have fulfilled our initial aims for the work.

We are flattered that the design has be compared in such a way, but making decisions on the pieces being copies with very little knowledge of there context, background and makeup is a little strange.

Thank you for taking the time to comment on the work and on Cohda, we welcome all
feedback.

(images from cohda)