DWR Wants to Patch Up Relationships with Designers They’d Copied

Following up on one of the biggest stories to close out 2009 with: the hiring of John Edelman at the long-suffering Design Within Reach, the NY Times has put together this very interesting piece about the designers and companies who had gone after DWR for blatantly copying their designs. Alan Heller, in particular, talks about his getting burnt by the company, who he’d sold furniture of his own creation to, only to have his work copied, its name changed, and listed with prices cheaper than he’d sold his originals for. There are a lot of re-hashed facts and bits of history in the piece, most of which were already covered in Jeff Chu‘s great Fast Company story, but the meat and potatoes is hearing more from Edelman about how he wants to try and win back the respect of designers who had felt slighted (or even took matters to court, like Heller) by DWR. Fortunately for them, despite their rocky past, they still seem to have not burnt every bridge with every designer across the board:

Karim Rashid, a designer of sleek contemporary objects in New York, said he didn’t know enough about the company’s ethics to give an opinion. But, he said, “if they called me, I would work with them,” because so little contemporary design is produced in the United States. “I’m working with about 35 companies in Italy, and not a single one in the U.S.,” he said.