Virgil Abloh's IKEA Chair
via Instagram / Virgil Abloh

They say a truly original idea is very rare. Almost everything you see today was improved upon or inspired by… or blatantly ripped off from another idea.

From the looks of things, the latter option is what Virgil Abloh is being accused of.

For a recent IKEA x VIRGIL project, the newly-appointed Louis Vuitton art director came up with a chair design that the internet says is an exact rip-off of a popular design from the 1950s. As you can see in the example below, this “early prototype” is an elevated representation of a “typical chair”, which Abloh said “feels more like an art object”.

@Diet_Prada placed it right next to an image of a best-selling design by Paul McCobb from the 1950s… and lo and behold, it looks exactly the same, aside from different wood and a red piece attached to the bottom of one of the legs.

So @virgilabloh & Henrik Most (a creative leader at IKEA Range and Supply) talked design philosophy last month at a workshop with @ikeatoday …specifically about elevating a chair design for their collab so it “feels more like an art object than a typical chair that serves its functions with four equal legs”. Well, that “typical chair” is actually an icon of mid-century design by Paul McCobb for his Planner Group series. Manufactured by Winchendon Furniture Company, it was among the best selling contemporary furniture lines of the 1950s and in production up until 1964…that is until Virgil decided to relaunch it and elevate it (quite literally) with an added doorstop lol. Tbh, we all get your approach by now, but it would actually be much more interesting to know the sources of your “inspiration”…especially if they’re this iconic. • #virgilabloh #ikea #paulmccobb #plannergroup #winchendon #furniture #midcentury #midcenturymodern #industrialdesign #american #ikeahack #offwhite #streetwear #streetstyle #hypebeast #hypebae #interiordesign #dietprada

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“Manufactured by Winchendon Furniture Company, it was among the best selling contemporary furniture lines of the 1950s and in production up until 1964… that is until Virgil decided to relaunch it and elevate it (quite literally) with an added doorstop lol. Tbh, we all get your approach by now, but it would actually be much more interesting to know the sources of your ‘inspiration’…especially if they’re this iconic,” Diet Prada writes.

It would make sense to divulge the source of inspiration, especially if the design is nearly identical to one of the past. Right?