Attention, cones!

Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby are showing the solo show Signals at London's kreo gallery until 16 April 2022.
by Anna Moldenhauer | 2/14/2022

"Signals" is the first lighting collection that Barber Osgerby have developed for the Galerie Kreo in London. In terms of material and form, it offers many references to the work of the designer duo, with the cone playing a central role – because "the shape of the cone has a perfect geometry", according to Edward Barber. For the viewer, this conveys a strong association for a signal that serves our safety and orientation simply through its use as a non-verbal communication in road traffic. As lampshades made of glass, Barber & Osgerby not only attract attention with the cone, but also reveal subtle colour transitions in the material from light to dark through its illumination.

The artistic cones are manufactured in Venini's traditional workshops on the island of Murano. "There is a tension between the industrial and the artisanal elements of the lights, which we call 'engineered craft'. We always try to work in a space between sketch and manufacture," says Osgerby. The monolithic aluminium boxes that form the basis for the luminaires contrast with the delicate glass shades in terms of both colour and material. Each model combines two main materials, two geometric shapes and two production methods. The signal effect of the design is particularly impressive in the totem-like floor lamps of the collection: with lampshades that are each diagonally offset or arranged on top of each other, they look like traffic light poles or loudspeaker stands.

The intensity of the lamps in the multi-flame models can be selected individually, creating different moods with a combination of direct and indirect light. The formal parallel to a signalling system is reinforced by the large, round pushbuttons that are embedded in the body. The shape of the cone has accompanied Barber Osgerby since her early days as a designer: "In technical drawing, the conical shape is used in orthographic representations to define the view of the drawn object. It is a code that is deeply embedded in our memory." The cone is also closely related to humans in terms of receiving information, as the cone-shaped cells in our eyes process all colour information. "Cones invite us to become active," says Edward Barber.

Signals by Barber & Osgerby
Until 16 April 2022

Galerie kreo
24 Cork Street
W1S 3NG - London
Phone: +44 7555 325 994