Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby: from plywood to plastic

29.01.20. Designers’ studio, London

Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby of Barber Osgerby are renowned industrial designers who have worked for the likes of Vitra, Knoll, Magis and Flos, as well as working on installations for brands such as BMW and Sony.  

In this episode the intention was to chat about the role plywood played in their nascent careers with Iskon Plus. However, we ended up chewing the fat about (among other things): meeting at the Royal College of Art and nearly being kicked out; not slagging off Richard Rogers; the ‘toxicity’ of contemporary design; how the British design scene has changed since they emerged in the ’90s; the importance of collaboration; their obsession with making; and why their work definitely, definitely isn’t ‘Blair-ite’.

En route we also go into detail about the creation of the Olympic torch for the 2012 Games, the thinking behind their revolutionary Tip Ton chair for Vitra, and their recent On & On stacking chair made of recycled plastic for the US manufacturer Emeco.

Find out more about Barber Osgerby 

The Loop Table was designed in plywood for Isokon Plus in 1996.

The Shell Chair, designed in 2004 for Isokon Plus, was another ply product.

The On & On collection for Emeco was fashioned from recycled plastic.

Barber Osgerby created the Olympic Torch for the 2012 Games in London. All images courtesy of the designers.