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Barber Osgerby Celebrate the Hidden Beauty of Boats and Planes

For a new exhibition, the design studio shows eight new pieces that embody the balance required for both floating and flying.

Barber Osgerby Celebrate the Hidden Beauty of Boats and Planes

Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, the guys behind the blingtastic Olympic torch for London’s 2012 Olympic games, appear to be up for designing some of the game’s sporting equipment as well. Now on view at London gallery Haunch of Venison, Barber Osgerby’s new objects are a truer reflection of the studio’s decade-defining style. Here, they use Japanese paper, wooden racing shells, and mirrored polished brass to highlight handmade techniques behind how things float and how things fly.

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Although they have been influenced by airplanes (Osgerby grew up close to a Royal Air Force base) and boats (Barber spent time sailing as a child), the duo got some outside help for the finished products. For “Frame 1,” they enlisted Carl Douglas, a renowned British manufacturer who specializes in building durable and lightweight plywood racing shells, to make a skeleton of a boat that was then attached to the wall bottom-side-out. One of the most challenging pieces is one that looks the most effortless: “Corona 1100,” a red circle that shines like a cherry Life Saver, is made from several sections of metal, welded together, then polished for a flawless finish. “It’s incredibly difficult to create simple, perfect geometric objects in polished metal,” the designers told Co.Design. So they went to Ronchetti, the Cantu, Italy-based experts at working with challenging metals, to finalize the production.

Other standout pieces are the Planform Array chandeliers, which uses handmade Japanese paper to create a lighting system that’s a cross between flat paper lanterns and elegant boat cushions. The most difficult part of the process was balancing the highly controlled details of the design with the natural characteristics of a handmade material, they said. “It was also a challenge to design not just the form and structures of the paper elements but also the diffusion and intensity of light and shadows.” Refined and restrained, they aren’t necessarily floating on sunshine as much as gliding through the air with the greatest of ease.

The show, entitled “Ascent,” is on view at Haunch of Venison in London until November 19. More images here.

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