Taking inspiration from the shape of the cone, British designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby have designed a series of lamps, presented in a new solo show at London’s Galerie Kreo. Titled ‘Signals’, the Barber Osgerby exhibition comprises floor, wall, and pendant lamps made of aluminium and glass. 

‘There is something about the cone that we often return to,’ says Barber. ‘There’s an energy in its form,’ adds Osgerby. ‘In technical drawing, orthographic projection makes use of the conical form to define the view of the object we are drawing. It is a code that is deeply embedded in our minds.’

Installation image of Barber Osgerby lamps at Galerie Kreo, London
Photography Courtesy Galerie Kreo

Each lamp consists of an aluminium box that forms the design’s base, onto which conical glass cones are attached. Each of the colourful glass shades is mouth-blown by master craftsmen at the Venini workshops in Murano, Venice. ‘There’s a tension between the industrial and the artisanal elements of the lamps, which we call engineered craft,’ explains Osgerby. ‘We’re always trying to work in this space between the sketch and the machine.’

The collection is defined by bold, tertiary colours, made brighter by the light shining through the glass shapes – an approach that fits with Barber Osgerby’s ongoing preoccupation with colour composition. 

Blue floor lamp by Barber Osgerby
Photography: Eva Herzog, Courtesy Galerie Kreo

The lamps’ shapes, the designers note, are reminiscent of old-school audio equipment and dystopian, Cold War-era sci-fi designs, their rigorous construction softened by the glass, colour and light. ‘These are technical objects and we haven’t tried to soften them by adding curves or further refinement,’ continues Osgerby. ‘They’re bold, monolithic objects, but those qualities then contrast against the core crafted forms that emit light.’

The ‘Signals’ collection summarises some of the ongoing topics of research of the studio, from manufacturing techniques to more complex explorations of forms. The cone, for instance, is chosen as a shape that is both ideal for the transmission of light, as well as a shape that ‘encourages reception’, as the eye can process colour information thanks to cone-shaped cells. ‘They are the ideal shape to transmit and receive information,’ says Barber. ‘They invite engagement.’

Installation image of Barber Osgerby lamps at Galerie Kreo, London
Photography Courtesy Galerie Kreo

The lamps’ elegant aesthetic is made more contemporary by details such as the oversized buttons on the aluminium bases, and the fact that the glass shades can be moved to shift the light’s glow. 

‘“Signals” is a continuation of themes that have been evolving in the background of our work for some time,’ concludes Osgerby. ‘It encompasses engineered craft, our love of Venini glass and colour, and our enjoyment of working with light to change a space.’ §

Red and light green floor lamp
Photography: Eva Herzog, Courtesy Galerie Kreo
Detail of white and yellow lamp

Photography: Eva Herzog, Courtesy Galerie Kreo