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Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby


When did you realise you wanted to be a designer?

JO: As a child I knew I wanted to do something creative but I didn’t understand, or know, the term designer until I was older. It was only then that I decided to go in this direction.

EB: I’m not sure I ever decided, I just fell into it really. I thought I might be an artist or a sculptor and then one day I got very practical and signed up for a design course. I imagine that I won’t be a designer at some point.

What is artificial light for you?

EB & JO: Lighting is the most important consideration in a space, it sculpts and defines. Through light you have the ability to set a mood and to change the feel or purpose of an environment. It’s a powerful and emotive resource to work with.

Why do you like working with Flos?

EB & JO: Flos are the most important lighting company in the world. They have a pioneering spirit and strong history, with huge cultural significance. We share the belief in thorough research and development. Flos are always open to exploration of new ideas.

What is the next object you’d like to design?

EB & JO: A lighthouse.

Is there a great designer, artist or musician you regard as a point of reference for your work?

EB & JO: There are too many to mention. Design heroes for us are people who are often unnamed – people who have made everyday household objects – items that have been design-developed through time.

What is the strangest object you’ve designed? 

EB & JO: Probably the 2012 London Olympic Torch as it was unlike any other project we’ve undertaken. Many projects are challenging – the Olympic Torch was incredibly difficult as we had to make something that was reliable, beautiful and indisputable. The project was both highly technical but also highly symbolic.

Do you think there is a certain sense of Englishness in your work? 

EB & JO: It’s probably not for us to judge but we feel that good design transcends borders. We take inspiration from our travels to so many different countries, cultures and practices. It’s unlikely our work speaks of Englishness.