Originals and DNA testing
Singapore 10th July 2010
As designers we rely on our suppliers to get the products of our specifications delivered properly to the project sites for installation. But this world is a big pond with many sharks and as a result we do not always get what we want, knowingly or unknowingly. I think we are always wary of copies and unwanted substitutions that are passed on as so called “as specified” or even as “original”.
In a site meeting yesterday, one of the contractors, responsible for the delivery and installation of all the timber works, told me that nowadays they have ways to make sure that the timber is original and from the specified country of origin. As a living material timber has its own DNA and as such imported timber can be DNA tested to assure the batch is indeed “original” by comparing its DNA with that of the specified country of origin…interesting isn’t it?
Our lighting products are not made of “living” materials, but I was wondering whether there was a way that manufactured lighting products and related materials could have their own “DNA” to prove their country of origin. In this part of the world we are bombarded with so many copies and replica’s that even professionals like ourselves at times have difficulties to spot it, certainly if the sample shown is the real original but the installed version is a copy.
When relevant we do request suppliers to provide certificates of origin but I imagine these can be tempered with as well. Some manufacturers stamp or stick their logo or brand name on trims and reflectors, easy to see and recognize. But this is also part of the corporate branding, similar to fashion labels on shirts and apparels. But in lighting we have components manufactured in one or more countries and the final fittings assembled in another country, making the definition of the country of origin rather difficult.
It looks like that DNA type testing for lighting products is a difficult proposition, but maybe electronic and digital technology will allow us in the future to provide lighting products and components with an authentic birth mark… 🙂