Designers strive for originality. Likewise, consumers want to own original designs. Yet, in an age when you can copy and paste something at the click of a mouse, and cheap counterfeits are rapidly mass-produced, it’s high time to question the value of originality. Bas Geelen thus calls for a new era: taking the taboo out of copying. Besides, imitation has always been a part of creation. It was once the norm for apprentices to gain expertise by meticulously studying their master’s work. And so Geelen selected four design classics and in each case analysed the designers’ original concepts and created his own interpretations of those concepts. By copying the ideas only he infringes copyright, since copyright covers the appearance rather than the underlying idea. He chose: the Thonet chair, the Arco lamp, Starck’s Juicy Salif citrus squeezer and Rietveld’s Red Blue chair. In creating his revolutionary chair for example, Gerrit Rietveld reduced seating to its most elementary components. Geelen’s reinterpretation of the idea of reduction consists of a stripped sofa seat in which comfort is safeguarded.
“Designers should be more like composers. They write the score, but that can be played in different ways,” Geelen says. The original creative vision will always remain open to re-interpretation. “Copyright law only protects physical products, not ideas.” Hence the name of the project: Ideas for Free.