Mark Byrnes is a senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design and architecture.
Counterfeit copies of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman's massive sculpture are popping up across China.
Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman's massive, inflatable duck (named, appropriately, "Rubber Duck") has graced rivers and ports around the world.
And apparently, it's caught the eye of China's copy-cats. At least ten counterfeit replicas have popped up across China, in cities like Wuhan, Tianjin, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, and others. Some look remarkably similar to Hofman's creation, others don't at all.
Chinese officials aren't happy with this latest developmment. An article in China Daily says:
Unscrupulous imitation of others is simply not the path for a country that wants to boost cultural confidence and build soft power.
In People's Daily, the press arm of the national communist party, an editorial argues:
It's good that the rubber duck is popular, but it's sad to see the innovation of our country to go down. We often talk about awareness and confidence in our own culture, but where do they come from? Definitely not from following new trends.
The big ducks have been particularly popular among developers looking to lure people to their properties, but anyone can purchase one if they wish. One company, KK Inflatable, is selling theirs on Taobao, a popular shopping website in China. A duck the size of Hofman's costs 118,000 yuan ($19,200 USD) while a 65-foot tall duck goes for $24,400. A nearly 7-foot tall duck costs $456. Air pumps are sold separately.
One month since the counterfeits first emerged, they're still being spotted. Via Reuters, a look at some of the inflatable ducks seen around China since Hofman's visited Hong Kong: