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The Look for Less: Patricia Urquiola vs. Anthropologie wire chairs

August 17, 2009 | 11:39 am

WIRECH Celebrated for her architectural, often futuristic furniture, Patricia Urquiola injects her designs with a graceful, feminine touch. Case in point: The lacy Re-Trouve collection of steel wire patio furniture she designed for the Italian manufacturer Emu. One of these pictures features Urquiola's original design, which debuted at the Milan furniture fair in 2008. The chairs cost slightly less than $1,000 apiece. The other photograph shows Anthropologie's High Wire Act Scoubi chair, recently slashed from $248 to $69.95. Which is real and which is the steal? 

Answers after the jump.

Picnik collage chairsThe difference is in the details: Look closely at the intricacy of the base of the orange chair on the left -- how it sits flat on the ground and appears to be woven from a single piece of powder-coated steel wire, creating a basket to hold the seat pad. That's Urquiola's Italian-made Re-Trouve chair for Emu, which suggests a retail price of $979. It's also available in black, green, turquoise and white. By contrast, the High Wire Act Scoubi in blue or white, right, is composed of a less elaborate back and base joined at the seat, and sits on four disc-shaped feet. Welds are visible and inelegant, if that kind of thing bothers you. Marked down to $69.95, you'll probably be able to overlook the differences.

-- David A. Keeps

Photos: Anthropologie and Emu