27 October, 2017

Helka against design piracy

Have you ever seen a piece of design furniture that you admired going for a fraction of its cost in a webstore? Even though the store might seem reliable, a ‘too good to be true’ price is a telltale sign of an illegal replica.

Design is a matter of great importance to us at Helka. We like to please our customers by showing them that Nordic design is not only beautiful, but also practical. Secto’s Octos, armchairs, stools and lamps designed by Alvar Aalto, Blocks by Harri Koskinen, Strinning’s String shelves and Henningsen’s PH Artichokes are great examples of pleasing design that also can withstand use.

Finnish design is also admired internationally. Where there is admiration, there are also people looking to monetize on the situation. The international illegal replica business is worth billions of euros.

But what makes design piracy unethical? After all, in some cultures the skill to make accurate replicas is valued. It’s also a bit elitist to chastise someone with low income about how only the real thing is worth something. But even though it’s a value issue to us, the replica business is also criminal, and supporting it is immoral.

Buying replicas means that the designers will not get the compensation they deserve. Many Finnish design companies employ people in Finland, and foreign copies can, in a worst-case scenario, lead them to financial troubles.

Also, consumer protection is nonexistent when you buy a replica. If a design lamp bought from a foreign webstore creates a dangerous situation due to its low quality, there is no one for the customer to complain to.

Buying a design replica is not a good investment. A replica can look nice for a while, but a genuine design product will stay beautiful for decades. Design products withstand usage and shifts in trends”, reminds Helka’s environmental manager Evi.

Investing in a genuine design product is also an ethical choice in our current throw-away society. The classics also need some maintenance from time to time, but that maintenance employs yet another group of Finnish artisans. When you buy a cheap replica, you are more inclined to replace it with another cheap replica.

We at Helka house many kinds of design. We have the valuably classics, but also some more affordable, modern items. Our interior design is dictated not only by beautiful design, but also a uniform and clean look and practical solutions that can stand use. We are constantly getting feedback from our customers about how harmonic and inspiring our interior design is. That is why we consider it our duty to invest in genuine design products.

We, as companies, must be at the forefront in this issue. It is easier for companies to make big design investments when compared to singular consumers. We have more influence, and thus also more responsibility to support Finnish design”, Evi says.

With these words, we challenge every Finnish company to say “no” to design piracy. It is our responsibility, to not only abide by the Finnish law, but to support other Finnish companies as a unified front. So, let’s support Finnish designers by investing in genuine design articles while making interior design choices.

Team Helka