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The Look for Less: Ross Lovegrove's Supernatural chair versus an eerily similar imitation

February 8, 2011 |  6:00 am

1Picnik collage

London designer Ross Lovegrove, who calls his design process "organic essentialism," introduced the stacking Supernatural chair in 2005 for the Italian furniture manufacturer Moroso. Inspired by cellular forms found in nature, Lovegrove said his work creates industrial objects that are aesthetically elegant and functional.

Made from injection-molded polypropylene reinforced with fiberglass, the Supernatural chair is recognizable by its rounded, perforated back. The holes are not merely decorative; they eliminate excess material, reduce the chair's weight, provide elasticity and improve comfort.

One of the photos above shows authentic Supernatural chairs, which sell for $217 apiece. The other photo shows imitations that sell in a set of two for $87.91. 

Keep reading to discover what makes them different, other than the price ...

The Baxton Studio Marina chairs, above left, are made of "heavy-duty white hard plastic," according to the online Stacking Chair Store, which sells the pair for $87.91 with a $21.98 shipping fee. The Marina chairs have a similar matte finish to the Lovegrove originals, but the Marina is available only in white. We have requested details on where the chairs are manufactured but have not received a response.

Supernatural SUI56-300 Lovegrove's Supernatural is manufactured in Italy. Close inspection reveals that the holes in the back are larger and more closely arranged, giving it a more organic appearance.

Both the original and the imitator are 32 inches tall with a seat height of 18 inches, but the Supernatural is nearly 2 inches wider and 3 inches deeper.

Supernatural also has a slot in the seat, right, for rain drainage if the chair is used outside. The Supernatural  is available in six colors, including turquoise and fluorescent green (not shown) and can also be ordered with a solid back.

Both versions -- perforated or solid back -- sell for $217 per chair, shipping included, at contemporary design websites including All Modern. Moroso also creates matching seat cushions, sold separately.

Moroso's higher price helps to defray the development of the product and royalty payments to the chair's creator, Lovegrove.

The Italian company's commitment to the product and its designer is evident in the continued evolution of the chair. In 2007, Moroso introduced Lovegrove's Supernatural armchair. It sells for $289, shipping included. (Again, cushions sold separately.)

-- David A. Keeps

Photo credits: Stacking Chair Store, Moroso.

The Look for Less appears on Tuesdays. Check for future installments by bookmarking the blog or joining our Facebook page dedicated to home design.


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Moroso's higher price helps to defray the development of the product and royalty payments to the chair's creator, Lovegrove.