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The Look for Less: Blu Dot vs. Crate & Barrel tables

March 8, 2011 |  7:00 am

1Picnik collage

On a recent spin through Crate & Barrel, the $999 Walker table had a long, lean look that stopped me dead in my tracks. Surely, this was a ripoff of the $1,099 Strut table that furniture maker Blu Dot launched in 2005. Did I smell a rat?

No, not even a copy cat.

"We designed and also make the Walker table for Crate & Barrel," Blu Dot  chief executive and co-founder John Christakos said by e-mail. "Since our goal is to make modern design more democratic with pricing that resembles Banana Republic more than it resembles Prada, we are not knocked off that often. We have been designing and making pieces for Crate & Barrel  for over 10 years."

Blu Dot's Strut is the bottom table pictured here. It's made of a powder-coated steel base with a lacquered engineered wood top. The large-size model measures 74.5 inches long by 34.5 inches wide, providing dining space for eight. It is available in ivory, white, slate and the red shown here, called "watermelon." Blu Dot sells variations on the design, incuding consoles and coffee tables. A version of the dining table in olive green is currently reduced to $719 on the Blu Dot site.

The Crate & Barrel Walker table, top, is made from the same materials but is 3.5 inches wider and has a top that extends to 95 inches. The store, Christakos said, "wanted a version that makes sitting at the ends of the table easier, thus the overhang and the removal of the bottom stretcher." The smaller amount of steel in the base translates to the smaller price. The Walker also is available only in one color: cherry.

"Crate’s is more red and ours slightly pink," Christakos said. "Of course we like both versions: the Strut for its clarity of form and the Walker for the ability to sit at the ends more comfortably."

-- David A. Keeps

Photos, from top: Crate & Barrel, Blu Dot

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