Thanks to Tommi Parzinger, I have been thinking about the use of language and how it relates to furniture. A few weeks ago I was called by a potential client to look at his Parzinger Originals furniture and upon my arrival was surprised to see some very shiny new cabinets based upon Tommi’s designs, however, Mr. Parzinger has been dead for 25 years. The following week in the Home section of the New York Times the architect Daniel Wismer refers to a new Parzinger chaise saying “They have the license from Parzinger, so it is a real piece, not a knock off…”. While it might not be a knock off any more than Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel suits are, it is still a reproduction, and it is misleading not to acknowledge that.
The relationship of language, furniture and commerce is an interesting thing and reproduction, knock off, vintage, period, original and antique all have specific meanings. It is completely possible to have a Louis XV chair that is antique but not period as well as a vintage (but not antique) Louis XV chair that is worth more than one that is period (think Maison Jansen). If not buying for investment and your major concern is style, perhaps none of this matters. Nonetheless, it is important for these terms to be understood, especially since it may affect your shopping.
In the meantime I am going to just relax in my Bruno chair (vintage Knoll) with a bottle of wine on my Mies coffee table (vintage Knoll) drinking from a glass (Josef Hoffmann reproduction, Nue Gallerie) gazing into my dining room with its mahogany table (modern Ruhlmann adaptation) surrounded by a mix of French armchairs (vintage) and American Empire side chairs (period) glittering beneath a Venetian green glass chandelier (antique) which lights up the well arted walls (all original) and think about why this use of language is an issue to me.
By the way, if you want to see a vintage Parzinger Originals chaise, just look at the Townhouse website under seating. That is a real piece.