Thursday, January 3, 2008

Double Take: Abaca and Random Lights

I've been harboring a thing for Dutch designer Bertjan Pot's Random Light forever. I want one for our dining room so bad it hurts, but the price -- more than $1,500 for the large size -- has stopped me.

So last night while I was leafing through the latest West Elm catalog (I know I said no more chain stores, but I was only looking ... ), my heart skipped a beat when I saw the company's new Abaca Pendant. It's a little bit similar, no? (And West Elm is certainly no stranger to design knockoffs.)

Let's compare:

West Elm Abaca Pendant, $79 to $129

Moooi Random Light: small, $660, and medium, $860, at Design Within Reach; large, $1,505, at YLighting

To my eye, the ethereal, delicate, and almost-translucent epoxy and fiberglass Random Light has much more drama and presence. West Elm's banana-fiber version is earthier, chunkier, and not nearly as graceful. The smaller size (the West Elm pendants range from about 9 to 16 inches in diameter, compared to the Random Light's 20 to 43 inches) also creates far less impact.

But when you consider the savings -- almost $600 to more than $1,350 -- the trade-offs might not be so hard to swallow.

What do you think?

11 comments:

Forever Chic said...

These remind me of summer-camp craft projects. Blow up a balloon (in this case, a perfectly round balloon), dip string/yarn/twine in papier mache solution (starch and water, I think), drape the string over the balloon in the desired pattern, then let dry. Then pop the balloon and carefully remove it from the form. Voila!

Want me to make one for you? :D

Leah said...

Hey Forever Chic,

I'm pretty sure that's exactly how these are made. Now if I could just figure out how to work with melted fiberglass ...

;-)

Leah

Forever Chic said...

My point is, fiberglass isn't necessary. It ends up looking similar to garden-variety string or twine, anyway.

jane said...

Put your "no more chain stores" moral code on hold and save the $$$$!

architheque said...

i'm with marianne. i'd probably try to make one too. :) instead of starch, i'd experiment with soaking the string in clear acrylic epoxy (the kind you use to make fake water in the bottom of vases), and i'd use some kind of silicone lubricant to keep it from sticking to my form. probably not what you wanted to hear. maybe you can commission one handmade by an artsy crafty type in order to stick with your resolutions?

Pencils said...

I think the West Elm ones lose everything that makes the Moooi light shade fabulous: the transparency, the lightness, the size. The West Elm ones hang like melons, while the Moooi one floats like a soap bubble. If it were me, and I couldn't afford the Moooi shade, I'd get something else, not the knockoff. Sometimes settling is OK when the items are very similar, but these aren't similar enough. In my opinion.

Porcelain said...

There is just something about the real Moooi shades. Pencils is right, the West Elm one loosing the transparency and lightness and the West Elm one it is just a little too heavy.

Last night I just happened to walk past a Thai place by me that recently expanded and they had a couple of Moooi pendants hanging in their new section. I stopped and stared into their window for a good minute or so. They are such show stoppers that I kind of think it would be so worth it to scrimp and save to get one.

Anonymous said...

Use the paper mache technique above and use a exercise ball to get a large size...you can look in dollar stores to find large round balloons too...for the lamp part, go to Ikea and get a fixture used for paper lanterns
may be messy to create but worth it!!!

Anonymous said...

Target and Walmart always sell large balls for kids. They pop easily and could be removed.

What about using fishing line somehow?

Anonymous said...

Hi there - I'm late to this blog but need help. I love the Moooi and splurged an got the actual one! I have a livingroom about 12'x16' and am contemplating getting one medium and one small one for dramatic effect. Do you think that is too much? They will hang over a low square coffee table and sectional. I live in a raw loft space with concrete ceilings that are close to 10' high. HELP!!!

Anonymous said...

did you ever end up attempting the string globe pendants? What about using dental floss? Its light and airy. You can buy bulk rolls of 200 yds of OraLine Plain Unwaxed Floss at Practicon.com its a dental supply company. (my husbands a dentist)

 

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