Lamps by J.C. Penney and Niermann Weeks: Coincidence? Seems a Tad Shady.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

J.C. Penney knows a good thing when it sees it.

Last month the national chain introduced the Dipak floor lamp as part of its new Artesia home furnishings and accessories line. The Dipak looks almost identical to the Montaigne floor lamp from Niermann Weeks, a Maryland-based company that sells high-end furniture and accessories exclusively to the design trade.

The Montaigne lamp, priced at $2,910, is constructed of steel and has a distressed gold-leaf finish. It comes with a custom silk drum shade. The design was inspired by a fragment of a wrought-iron garden border found at a Paris flea market, according to Bill Gardner, design development manager for Niermann Weeks. The Montaigne was introduced in 2005 and ever since has been the company's most popular lamp.

J.C. Penney's Dipak lamp is a little taller and a little chunkier, and much less expensive. The list price is $240 (though it's now on sale for $120). It has a steel base and an antique silver-leaf finish and comes with an off-white drum shade. Assembly is required.

J.C. Penney denies that the inspiration for its lamp came from the Niermann design. Debra Schweiss, trend director at J.C. Penney, said in an e-mail: "Through a collaborative effort between J.C. Penney's internal trend, design and product development teams, the Artesia collection was created and introduced in April as a home decor choice for customers desiring a global design aesthetic."

We're not buying it.

Terri Sapienza


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