Desk by Caleb Kraft

Is My Mid Century Modern Desk An Homage or a Cheap Knock Off?

Caleb Kraft for Make: I needed a desk for my office. Being a maker that is also loaded down with fancy tools, I couldn’t bear to go to the store and buy something. I decided I wanted to make something, and the design would have to be one that I wouldn’t mind looking at for long periods of time.

The big question at this point, however, is what to do with the files. Do I share them even though this is a knockoff of Helmut Magg’s work?

Helmut Magg desk This is a lovely project idea and something I would very much like to do for myself.

This particular project raises some interesting questions as the desk is based on a fairly famous 50s writing desk designed by Helmut Magg. It and other similar Magg desks are still sold from licensed vendors for thousands of dollars apiece. There is also a pretty healthy knockoff market. Like the author, I think these kinds of designs are fine to use as inspiration for personal projects, but selling them — or even giving away the design blueprints — definitely puts you in a grey area. You’d probably be opening yourself up to a lawsuit, even if you were ultimately well within your legal rights.

See also

Make: Design for CNC

Craft and creativity

A DIY mid-century modern CNC flat pack desk and the ethics of recreating classic furniture

In Autodesk Fusion360, I designed my own. This is where things start to get muddy. I looked at his, then put it away and designed my own. All my angles and measurements are actually different than his. However, I very obviously was designing something to look pretty much just like his.


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