Month: March 2019

March 6, 2019 / by Ambas / Dansk Design, Scandinavian Design / No Comments

Rove Concepts Reviews

Is Rove Concepts worth your money and time?

Shopping for anything online always feels a bit risky, and it is not without good reason – there is always a level of uncertainty when you need to invest money into something that will reach you eventually at some point in the near future. Buying furniture is no different. What’s more, furniture is often fragile, so you have additional stress of hoping it won’t get delivered damaged, because if it does, then you’re at the mercy of the company’s return and refund policy.

With all these issues, it is quite useful to read through experience of other people before making your decision. While there is a whole plethora of websites (like trustpilot) that allow you to do just that, when you are purchasing something that is as niche as designer furniture replica, it often helpful to hear what do the people experienced in the industry have to say about the company in question. money and time?
To start off with the time part – Rove Concept’s website is fairly simple and you can browse it easily, so if you know what you’re looking for, it will take you a couple of clicks at most until you get to the dedicated product page where you can make your purchase. However, if you are looking to just browse through different options, you can lose hours! I am serious, Rove Concepts offer is very diverse and includes at least a hundred of designs (not that I counted), excluding all the variations of the same models.

When it comes to the money part, the situation is a bit complicated. Rove Concepts is very affordable, especially in the replica part of their offer (as the site does feature a bunch of no-name generic designs wrongly labeled as midcentury or designer furniture), but that being said, the prices are still somewhat above the industry standard.

This would, of course, be easily forgivable if you get the appropriate quality for your money, but this is not necessarily the case. This doesn’t mean that Rove Concepts doesn’t deliver high-quality furniture. They do! Just… Well, sometimes. In fact, if you take a look at their TrustPilot page, you can easily see that there is a huge discrepancy between perfectly pleased customers and those who received designs which wouldn’t be sold on a local flea market. The consistency in quality is a big weakness of Rove Concepts, that is – lack of it, and if they could always offer the same high quality they certainly can provide sometimes, maybe the slightly inflated prices would be far less of an issue.

Check the reviews of the Rove Concepts on TrustPilot.

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March 6, 2019 / by Ambas / Dansk Design, Scandinavian Design / No Comments

By Bespoek Reviews

Is ByBespoek worth your money and time?

If you’re anything like me, then online shopping for you also comes with a healthy dose of stress and paranoia. Will my order arrive at all, will it be damaged, what if I get the wrong thing… There are many things that can go wrong. All of us control freaks are absolutely addicted to websites such as TrustPilot where we can get some peace of mind by making sure that the company we ordered does deliver and is delivering what it should. But, if you are niche shopper, then general websites like TP might not be enough for you. With that in mind, I started writing about different furniture replica companies that operate on the US market some time ago and this week, I am continuing with ByBespoek, a fairly new addition here that, judging from their website came straight from Europe.

So, let’s see if ByBespoek is worth your money and time!

When it comes to your time, the answer is one firm yes. ByBespoek doesn’t offer as many options as some competitors do, but what it does offer is a collection of true classics of midcentury design. From the iconic Wishbone chair, to even a bit obscure midcentury lighting fixtures, ByBespoek clearly shows that they know what they are doing. Each and every design that you can find on their website is a true gem of midcentury design that comes with a rich history. So, if you know your designer furniture history, you will absolutely enjoy ByBespoek as it will remind you of all the classics and their rich legacy that lingers on to this day.

For a company that specializes in some of the most iconic designer furniture, ByBespoek is surprisingly affordable. And what’s more, it doesn’t keep the prices low by compromising on quality. To be perfectly honest, I am not entirely sure how they maintain such affordable prices since all of their designs I had the pleasure of seeing in person are absolutely stunning. The quality is outstanding and the precision of their reproductions is amazing.

On the downside, this company could be more consistent when it comes to delivery times. So far, they do offer three-working days delivery for the continental United States provided you make your order before the shipping starts for the given day, but the customer service pointed out that it is more likely that I will get my delivery within five days (got it in six, though). So, this is far from major problem, and I assume that it can be improved later on as they get used to the business climate in the US. Another downside is the lack of a showroom – one is currently in plan according to their website and I’m looking forward to it finally opening. As the business develop, I also hope to see more ByBespoek reviews online as this would be very beneficial to them.

Overall, I am rather pleased with ByBespoek. To look back at the main question – is ByBespoek worth your time and money – my answer is yes. There are still some things that can be slightly improved, but I am willing to not complain when I keep in mind that they made the migration from Europe to the US which is probably not as simple as it sounds. For now, I’m definitely in love with their offer and I am looking forward to ordering from them again.

You can check the reviews of By Bespoek on Trustpilot!

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March 6, 2019 / by Ambas / Uncategorized / No Comments

The cultural impact of China in the works of Hans J. Wegner

History is my hobby ever since I can remember, but due to nature of my work, it’s rare that I have time to invest more time and effort into it. So apart from reading some books every now and then, history remained pretty side-lined. But, this is one topic that crossed my mind several times before, so I decided to do something about it and write this brief article. In the text, I will try to bring together furniture design and history – which is a rare opportunity to be perfectly honest, and I am rather hyped about it.

The question from which I will commence this short discussion is something that must have crossed your mind too if you are familiar with the works of Hans J. Wegner. The question is of course – how did a 17<sup>th</sup> century Chinese chair come to inspire classics of Danish mid-century design? So, let’s take a more detailed look at this question.
<h3>The golden age of Chinese furniture design</h3>
The Ming dynasty has been arguably the most influential in the whole of Chinese history. During their reign, some of the biggest scientific, artistic, but also social, industrial and economic breakthroughs took place. And the same is true for furniture design, too. In fact, the reign of the Ming Dynasty has been called the golden age of Chinese furniture design marked by the spread of its reputation and influence. In this period spanning from 14<sup>th</sup> to 17<sup>th</sup> century, China significantly upped the stakes in the regional influence games, kick-starting a prosperous era and a period when cities flourished.

With the rapid increase in urban population during the Ming rule, the demand for craftwork (but also all other goods) continued to increase. The craftsmen begin working together in guilds, but also started influencing each other in less formal ways, which all resulted in the emergence of a unique style which became characteristic for the Ming China.
<h3>The Ming style</h3>
This style developed under strong influence of two schools of Chinese religious philosophy, namely Confucianism and Taoism. The craftsmen involved view their endeavours as attempts to add more harmony to the world by creating simple, yet precise and elegant designs that were inspired by nature itself.

The same was true for furniture design and chair design more specifically, which is the topic of primary interest for us. In this field, the philosophical approach to craftsmanship resulted in unique shapes and forms marked by a continuous horizon of lines meeting in the chair back and flowing to the curved hand-rests in an aesthetical expression known in china as <em>yuanhun</em> which roughly translates to roundness or wholeness. The typical Ming-style round-back armchair is a typical example of this approach.

In traditional Chinese design, these elements were decorated with symbolic elements, like a sceptre which symbolises power and good fortune, or a specific position of the armrests which represents honour. Even the form of the chair itself was considered to be a symbolic representation of the philosophical concept known as <em>tianuyan defang</em> which can be translated to ‘round heaven and square earth’. But, even more important to our question here, Chinese merchants started exporting these chairs as early as 17<sup>th</sup> century and so they found their way into Europe.
<h3>Fast forward to the 1940s</h3>
European designers quickly began emulating these traditional Chinese chairs, although with no initial success. The elegance of this specific form was recognised only three centuries later, in the mid-century years, more specifically in 1940s when two iconic designs inspired by traditional Chinese chairs reached the pubic and captivated the imagination of millions – China chair and Wishbone chair, both of them designed by a master carpenter and innovator in the field of furniture design, Hans J. Wegner.

But, in his variation, Hans Wegner further explored the potential of the classic Chinese design, fusing the form with the typical Scandinavian sensibilities and demands of his contemporary period. In a twist of fate, by looking at the portraits of Danish merchants sitting in Chinese chairs, Wegner was inspired by traditional Chinese aesthetics, but the resulting design became synonymous with Danish and more broadly Scandinavian design.

However, despite its undeniably Scandinavian appeal, Wishbone chair as well as many other designs by Hans Wegner wouldn’t be possible without the Ming dynasty. Because only the prosperity brought on by this line of wise rulers enabled Chinese craftsmen to develop their unique style which in the end became ‘exported’ to Europe via centuries old trade routes. As Denmark developed as a maritime power itself, it traded with China extensively, setting the stage for the emergence of now legendary portraits of Danish merchants in Ming-style chairs which ended up inspiring Wegner and kick-starting the creation of possibly the most recognisable and iconic design of the Danish modern.

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