November 24, 2009

Knockoff Ripoff Within Reach: Plan Toys Walking Elephant


Somehow my thorough ignoring of what DWR's up to caused me to miss this: a ride-on, walking elephant made from molded rubberwood ply. It's different enough from its obvious inspiration, Ray and Charles Eames's molded ply elephant [which DWR also sells in the plastic version], that it's not technically a knockoff, but it's certainly not an original, either.

The design seems kind of overwrought to me, with all those bolts and handles and gaps and tusks and internal structure. If nothing else, it will serve as an object lesson in design schools about why the elegant Eames elephant was so unproduceable all these years, except at insane, limited edition prices.


Oy, now I know why I don't pay attention to DWR: because they always strip the maker and designer info from their description so you can't see they jacked up the price 25%. The rubberwood was a tip-off, and sure enough, this thing is made by Plan Toys, the industrial-scale eco-toymaker from Thailand. It has an MSRP of $200, and you can find it anywhere for less.

Walking Elephant, $250 [ via minor details]
PlanToys Walking Elephant, $180 [amazon]
The Plan Toys' molded ply rocking Palomino is a far more successful design, and at $84, less than half the price. [amazon]

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