Friday, February 8, 2008

The High Price of Living Cool (replacement parts for high-end furniture)

Elitist pricing is just one of the many problems with modern design.

What is the point of making "design for the people" so inaccessible (other than to make sure certain classes can't afford it, thus making it not for the people)?

I understand the merits of pricing something so that attention can be given to detail and quality assurance (both extremely important), but this is just ridiculous.

A replacement cushion for a Knoll Saarinen Tulip chair is $265.

That's just for the cushion.

Just the cushion.

Just the...

The problem is you've got to have consistency. If your puppy decides to shake your Saarinen cushion like a polaroid picture, and the end result is a happy puppy but a sad cushion, you need to be able to replace said cushion and know that it will look exactly the same as the one made in 1957. It's going to cost more than a cushion from T.J. Maxx. Period. I think everyone can appreciate that.

But $265?!

That's the point when we do our best, find a good upholsterer and say, "Can you make me one of these?" (hand over puppy toy). It might not be exact, it might not be original, but you're gonna save yourself at least $165 and that's how most real humans need to function. Just make sure you pay attention to detail and don't end up with a round cushion on your Tulip.


  1. I'm an upholsterer and I'm tryin to get a template for the tulip chair seat cushion to make for a customer. Any ideas where I can find a template or outline of the shape and dimesnions?

  2. I'd walk into any DWR or Knoll showroom and take a photo and measurement!

  3. Replacement tulip chair cushions can be found for much cheaper. There is a company in San Francisco that specializes in custom Knoll Tulip chair cushions. I told them I wanted 4 cushions in Black denim and I had them at my door in only a couple of weeks. They fit wonderfully on my 1967 set, and only cost me $60 a cushion. You can email them at for more info.