The Fusion of Architecture and Design
Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, graduates of The Royal College of Art in London, have transcended the boundaries of design disciplines to create work that’s as versatile as it is impactful. Armed with Master’s degrees in Architecture, they didn’t limit themselves to designing buildings; they immersed themselves in the world of furniture, industrial objects, and even Olympic Torches.
Crafting Materiality: The Early Years
One of the defining aspects of Barber and Osgerby’s early work was their experimentation with sheet material. They excelled in the art of folding and shaping these materials, a methodological approach that likely derives from their architectural background. It’s intriguing to note that model making remains central to their practice. This meticulous attention to form and function guides them in creating everything from architecture to furniture and assorted objects. The Umbrella Stand for Magis stands as a testament to their utilitarian design sensibility, whereas the London 2012 Olympic Torch is a representation of aesthetic functionality.
Collections and Recognition: A Testament to Versatility
Being featured in collections from renowned companies like Vitra, B&B Italia, and Magis is no small feat. What sets Barber and Osgerby apart is their broad appeal. Their designs can be found in major museums such as the V&A Museum in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. This global appreciation signifies the timeless and universal nature of their designs. Moreover, they have expanded their creative vision beyond objects into the realms of interiors and exhibitions through the founding of Universal Design Studio.
Universal Design Studio: The Next Phase
In 2001, the duo delved into another facet of design with the Universal Design Studio. Recognized as one of the world’s leading creative design consultancies, this venture allows them to fully express their architectural insights in a new context, applying them to interiors and exhibitions. They bring the same foundational principles of intuitive design and creative direction to this platform, making it a powerhouse of modern architectural and interior creativity.
MAP: Strategy Meets Design
With the launch of MAP in 2012, Barber and Osgerby once again demonstrated their ability to evolve and adapt. MAP serves as a strategy-based industrial design studio that utilizes the design intuition and research capabilities honed over the years at BarberOsgerby. Here, the pair work on providing design solutions that are not just creatively inspiring but also commercially viable, showcasing the seamless merger of form and function that is the hallmark of their design ethos.
A Unique Interface: Where Design Disciplines Converge
Their journey, from students studying architecture at the Royal College of Art to becoming household names in the design industry, is a testament to their multi-disciplinary approach. Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby’s work probes the complex interface between industrial design, furniture design, and architecture, offering a richness of experience that few designers can boast.
In Their Own Words
The ethos of Barber and Osgerby is best captured in their own words: “Every time we start a project, we approach it like it’s the first thing we’ve ever done.” This statement encapsulates the constant innovation and insatiable curiosity that define their body of work.
From their London-based studio, Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby continue to contribute to a design language that is simultaneously universal and intimately specific. As we consider their diverse portfolio and the multiple design studios they’ve founded, one thing becomes evident: their work is a lesson in how a rigorous architectural education can inform and enrich a multi-disciplinary design practice. Their trajectory illustrates the infinite possibilities when talent, education, and passion converge.