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Often Imitated, Never Equalled: Authentic Design Triumphs In New UK Law

As of today, UK law has changed for the better: unauthorised reproductions of classic designs can no longer be sold, preserving the legacy of iconic designers and safeguarding the work of talents to come.


Eames Lounge Chair: Courtesy of Vitra

Eames Lounge Chair: Courtesy of Vitra


Design that can’t be replicated

From the 28th January 2017, the lifespan of some of the most desired design icons in the world will be safeguarded, thanks to a change in UK copyright law.

The UK has dovetailed with European copyright rules to extend the protection of artistic works from 25 years to 70 years after the passing of the designer. This ensures that original designs, or ‘Works of Artistic Craftsmanship’, receive the greater protection from inferior imitation that they deserve.


Original 1227 Brass Desk Lamps - Group Shot

Anglepoise Original 1227 Desk Lamps: Courtesy of Anglepoise


Founder of The Conran Shop and stalwart of the design world, Sir Terence Conran, has been a driving force behind this ground-breaking law change for many years. Originally due to come into force in 2020, the British government fast-tracked the ruling after representations from designers' estates and licensees, meaning the legislation will come into full effect on 28th January 2017.


Arne Jacobsen's Egg Chair in leather: Courtesy of Fritz Hansen

Arne Jacobsen's Egg Chair in leather: Courtesy of Fritz Hansen


As the founder of the Design Museum, Sir Terence Conran has exhibited many of the iconic designs available at The Conran Shop and been inspired by the innovation and quality of 20th century furniture design.

Authentic pieces have the designer's permission and original specification, stamped with the maker's name and serial number on each model to ensure the piece is an authentic, identifiable design that can be passed on through generations. Cheaper copies lack the skilled and labour-intensive craftsmanship, superior quality of raw materials and high-standard finish of authorised design classics.



Close-up of the Noguchi Table, printed with the designer's signature as a mark of authenticity


Lifelong protection for timeless icons

While the market for low-price, counterfeit pieces stood to threaten the longevity of iconic design, this law will ensure the security of those instantly recognisable classics, and guarantee their continued production to the highest, most intricate standards.



The Arco Floor Lamp, by Achille Castiglioni


At The Conran Shop, we always have been proud to showcase an incredible curation of authentic designs from some of the world’s most renowned names: Charles and Ray Eames Lounge chairs brought to us by Vitra, Arne Jacobsen’s Egg Chair from Fritz Hansen and Eero Saarinen’s famous tables courtesy of Knoll - to name but a few - all made to exacting standards by highly skilled craftspeople, under license from the designers and their estates.



Eero Saarinen and family sit at the Saarinen Table with Tulip Chairs: Courtesy of Knoll


The finer details

This law affects the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, awarding ‘Works of Artistic Craftsmanship’ a similar protection to that of the written word or sculptural art pieces. Protecting the intellectual property of designers past and future, the ruling required all stockists of replica goods to sell off remaining pieces over the last six months, meaning, as of today, the legislation takes full force and prevents the sale of unlicensed reproductions.


The outstanding quality of the licensed product will give the owner particular pleasure and satisfaction.’ – Sir Terence Conran


Carl Hansen

CH22 Wishbone Chairs: Courtesy of Carl Hansen and Søn


Continuing to support true designers, we welcome this change in legislation and look forward to upholding the quality and craftsmanship that makes every authentic design truly life-changing for its owner.