Office furniture making giant Herman Miller believes Walmart could be selling cheaper knockoff versions of its furniture.
Walmart's Poly and Bark Sculpture Coffee Table, launched in February through the company's new home shopping site, caught the attention of news and design publication Curbed, who noticed an uncanny resemblance to Herman Miller's Noguchi Table. The wood and glass Noguchi Table was designed by Isamu Noguchi in 1947 and is considered one of the most famous tables of the 20th century.
The real Noguchi Table.
A new Noguchi Table from Herman Miller costs around $1,800. Walmart's Poly and Bark Sculpture Coffee Table costs $309.
Curbed reached out to Isamu Noguchi Museum's director Brett Littman. The museum grants the exclusive license to Herman Miller to manufacture the table. Littman told Curbed that Walmart's version was a copy.
"This is a copy of Isamu Noguchi’s Coffee Table, dating from 1944, which has endured as one of his greatest designs and one of the most popular pieces of furniture in the canon of mid-century modernism," Littman said.
"Additionally, the table’s original manufacturer, Herman Miller, is the only party authorized and licensed to manufacture and sell the table in North America, and others have rights elsewhere in the world. Unfortunately, unauthorized copies of the Noguchi coffee table like the one being offered at Walmart do appear from time-to-time. We are naturally unhappy to learn that Walmart is selling these copies and will contact them to request that they cease doing so immediately. We will also work to identify the manufacturer to request that it cease fabricating the knockoff table as it is an infringement of our trademark and trade dress rights."
Herman Miller has also declared the table to be a counterfeit and its legal team is reportedly looking into it.
Walmart launched a home shopping site for furniture and decor in February, which features affordable "midcentury modern" style pieces. The company has not yet responded to comments.
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