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Barber Osgerby’s Ascent at the Haunch of Venison

An exhibition by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby exploring the craft of crafts was unveiled last week at the Haunch of Venison Gallery. Ben Morgan spoke to the duo before the opening.

Barber Osgerby’s Ascent at the Haunch of Venison


September 30th, 2011

It’s the scale that first grabs you with Barber Osgerby’s designs at the Haunch of Venison Gallery in London. In one cavernous room 2 huge ’mobiles’ hang, suspended from the ceiling, exerting a great presence, yet they are light enough to respond to the slightest movement of a person entering the space.

The mobiles are part of a limited edition series of wall and ceiling mounted works by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby – the English designers behind the 2012 London Olympics torch, not to mention countless designs for international brands including Established & Sons, Vitra and Cappellini.

The collection features wall-hung sheet-metal structures echoed in skinless timber frames, large nautical light pieces and two massive mobile designs – all inspired by boat and aeroplane design and adapted into pieces that straddle the bounds of art and design.


Foil H, 2011. Brass shelf

“I had some people ask me the other day ’Is it art, or design?’ and I said ’You know what, I don’t know. We just make things’. I don’t care. You can call it art, you can call it design. People are so hung up on labels. We’re not saying it’s art but if you want to call it art, that’s fine,” Osgerby says.


Frame 1, 2011. Wood

Regardless of where it sits for the viewer, it’s clear these objects have been very meticulously designed and engineered. The mobiles, for example, are made using lightweight rice paper sheets sewn around a jointed metal frame, allowing sections to move smoothly and independently.

“They’re the things from the sketchbook that don’t get manufactured or put into mass production. They’re ideas that would otherwise stay in the sketchbook,” Osgerby says, adding that the pair relish these rare opportunities to create objects without a defined brief.


Corona 1100, 2011. Painted steel wall light

“The great thing about a gallery show is that you can just experiment,” Barber explains. “You have real freedom to do whatever you want. It’s not going to go through a thousand drop tests on it and scratch tests, you can forget about all that for a bit.”

The exhibition is on show until 19 November at the Haunch of Venison Gallery in London and the pieces are all available to purchase through the gallery. An exhibition of sketches and models is also on display.

Haunch of Venison Gallery

Barber Osgerby

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