ADA Lighting Roundtable – Melbourne / Sydney October

AFR Magazine article by Stephen Todd

Surprisingly, most of our contact with industry members affected by design theft are from the lighting sector!

Independent designers, brands, importers and retailers are being savaged by online platforms and bricks and mortar stores cherry picking successful contemporary designs, and selling cheap iterations of original, often hugely successful products.

Last week alone we collaborated with five (5) Australian lighting brands / designers to help remove their products from local online sales portals, ‘hole in the wall’ shops, and in one instance, a significant home brand chain.

At the same time we’re seeing home accessory chains adding lighting to their offering, and the insanely low price tags serving to accelerate a race to the bottom in price.

Sourcing the cheapest, immediately available product is now a common consumer expectation and retail chains are rising to meet the increasing demand by venturing into new territory and selling products unrelated to their core business.

With ‘cheap’ and ‘immediate’ superseding ‘quality’, ‘provenance’ and ‘investing in objects that we connect with’ driving purchasing decisions one must be mindful that all this chain store ‘stuff’ will, shortly, head to the local landfill. Only to be replaced, and on the cycle goes….

Frequently copied lights in Australia

AFR Magazine story by Stephen Todd lifts the lid on local brands knocking off original design in commercial developments and pocketing the profits.

Lighting – savaged by knock-offs!

Hardware chains selling soft furnishings. Stationary juggernauts flogging $50 ‘designer’ chairs and $25 designer lights. Supermarkets offering $300 armchairs that hold a distinctly recognisable form. Where does it stop?

Now bed linen empires join corner store outlets selling knock-off pendant, floor and feature lighting. Is it a surprise most have one thing in common?

Buyers, marketing managers, sales people and business owners simply don’t know what’s real and what’s fake – ignorance is a huge part of the problem

For the most part these buyers, marketing managers, sales people and business owners simply don’t know what’s real and what’s fake. Most we connect with have no idea that products in their collection are blatant knock-offs of original designs.

These purchasing manages sit in one of two categories // Don’t know, don’t care // or // Don’t know do care.

It’s the latter group we’ve found ourselves hands-on with lately – successfully working with our member brands to remove copied lighting from websites, stores and future catalogues.

One-on-one effort is a slog. But in lieu of appropriate IP protection to fall back on legally – the direct approach is having some success …… but how do we deal with the bigger picture?

Authentic Design Alliance - The problem with the building industry

A leading magazine enraged design professionals touting this building industry brag.

Australian companies knocking off local suppliers & the building sector pockets the profit!

The problem doesn’t stop there – in the commercial sector the situation escalates.

This is not Mr & Mrs Smith looking for 3 pendants for a kitchen; it’s 100’s of apartments being specced to a ‘designer look.’ Or Jack Johnson looking for a new office chair – we’re talking about several hundred units.

Too frequently the display apartment, the core marketing tool for a multi-res apartment development, features quality finishes and fixtures, a high value spec that often won’t make it through to the final outcome. Buyers are being sold the dream yet purchasing an inferior replica of the original concept.

Somewhere along the line a handshake between builder, project manager &/or developer results in core products sent off-shore to be cheaply knocked off, and they pocket the profits.

“Just like dropping a stone in a pond, the problem continues to grow – and without appropriate IP Protection the furnishing sector continues to operate at a disadvantage” AUTHENTIC DESIGN ALLIANCE

Add the cheap copies to the project also create a much bugger problem. Aany product or collection sent off-shore to be copied – 1 or more Asian factories now have the specs, fabrication process and marketing materials to continue pumping out unauthorised designs to their broader customer base.

Just like dropping a stone in a pond, the problem continues to grow. And without appropriate IP Protection the furnishing sector continues to operate at a disadvantage.

We recently posted commentary from an industry magazine which underpins the building industry practice of smoke and mirrors by delivering poorly executed commercial projects and trading off the back of high quality finishes in the process.

AFR Magazine article by Stephen Todd

AFR Magazine diving into local business ripping off original designs by Australian design brands and pocketing the change.

ADA Lighting roundtable – October // Melbourne & Sydney

We’ve been in consultation with ADA stakeholders, and distributors of imported and local brands to drill down the core issues created by lighting design theft.

Next month our first roundtable on lighting will be held in Melbourne with a followup a week later in Sydney.

Supported by ADA co-founders Euroluce and Cult, our consultation includes ADA Members SPACE Furniture, Christopher Boots, Luxxbox, ISM Objects, Articolo, Ilan El, Artefact Industries  to contribute to the agenda.

If you’d like to join the conversation we will have a couple of spaces at the table for both sessions in Melbourne and Sydney – dates TBC week 2/3 October.


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Case studies, agenda items, burning issues – drop us a line!

Read more about our roundtable in June with IP Australia here, still no outcome there, but the conversation is on the table. And underpins why affecting change for the furnishing sector is a marathon, not a sprint.

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