Being authentic is not something we take lightly, it’s about be honest and transparent. We are what we are. This applies to all things, from ourselves as individuals to that chair sitting in the corner. Why do we hold such a high regard for authenticity? Why is an authentic product some how more valuable?
In the end, it comes down to quality, rigour, and craft. Authenticity applies in a holistic way. You can’t be partially authentic, it applies from the design right down to the materials and details. This is why by definition a copy or a knock-off is inauthentic it relies too heavily on replicating the image of a thing.
When we begin to apply this to the materials that we choose for our homes, it is easy to focus on the innate qualities embodied in the material and choose natural over man-made this is a common approach to the selection of materials. An alternate approach is to simply use materials for what they are. Synthetic materials can still be used and selected for their own qualities, including longevity, finish, durability etc, but not for their ability to represent or mimic a traditionally natural material; this necessarily means that “real wood textures” are out of consideration.
The most inauthentic materials are those that have the properties of a synthetic, but a realistic natural finish. They come from a desire to provide a material at a reduced cost of a traditional natural material and to increase the performance. These ideals are a great starting point but the material ultimately fails when it tries to look like the original. Its time to embrace the product for what it is and stop trying to replace another.