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In copytopia, Pierre Castignola questions the benefits of the patent as part of the intellectual property system using one of the most recognizable objects of our time, the plastic garden armchair. Though nobody knows who originally created the ubiquitous design, numerous remakes of it are currently patented, sections of which Castignola has reassembled into one object to explore the ambiguous relationship between patent law and the freedom to create.

Pointing at the fact that the plethora of copyrights –mostly owned by big companies – monopolizes creation and controls innovation, castignola believes that imitation is part of human nature, and that designers should be able to work on and improve existing designs more freely. aimed at reclaiming freedom when copyright law starts to corrupt the creative process, Copytopia combines many different patented copies of the plastic garden chair into a final object. here, the designer is not seen as a shaper but as a selector, taking over someone else’s work and making it his own. A way to reclaim freedom to create when the system supposed to protect creators starts to limit them.

These chairs explore the universe of Copytopia. they merge the reality of the system with a vision of freedom. Seven different chairs were used for this outcome. Technically then seven patents and copyrights are overlaping each other. These chairs exist but who own the moral right of them? The one who put them together? Or their first creator? The first piece was never patented. Hypocritically, most of the following creations were in fact patented. Does intellectual property make sense then? Highlighting and embracing our natural need to copy, imitate and take over. While questioning the legitimacy and relevancy of intellectual property.


A graduation project by Pierre Castignola
Design Academy Eindhoven
Texts, photos, edits, renders and layout by Pierre Castignola
Special thanks to Lucas Muñoz, Lucas Maassen, Katja van Stiphout, Pauline Kolton, Julie Abraham, Jonathan Levain, Carla Joachim, Marina Martinez Garcia, Irene Droogleever Fortuyn, Ruud van Oosterhout and my family for all their support and help.


Access to the gallery here


Patent Analysis
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