In conversation with Barber & Osgerby

By Elspeth Pridham
July 2, 2020

We talk to Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby about their design process and latest collaboration with AXOR

Q. Designers often take inspiration from the world around them for their work. Has lockdown put constraints on your design process?

A. Yes and no, we have both been working from home, but recently we have managed to get into the studio to work together. Zoom calls and research are all possible from home, however, for us, the magic of creative dialogue only happens face to face.
There seems to be a greater abundance of time, which has allowed more mental space for contemplation and creative ideas. You find that changes of pace, perspective and priorities are in themselves a stimulus for ideas.

Q. For the AXOR Places of Memory project, you chose a cottage in Trearddur Bay on the West coast of Wales. Why is this remote place important to you?

A. The place we chose is in fact the location of a small cottage, which is owned by Ed’s family. As students, and later as young designers, we would travel there and spend days on end drawing and talking about ideas. The remoteness and ever changing weather and sea conditions seemed to precipitate good ideas and breakthroughs. It is one of the places that taught us how to work together.

Q. You have worked with AXOR in the past, what are the particular challenges of designing for the bathroom?

A. The bathroom needs to offer many differing experiences, from relaxation to invigoration and stimulation. To wake up and to wind down. It is also where we are, physically, most exposed. Apart from those issues, so much has been done already; the challenges for us are to find new interactions and ways of doing things better, within a beautiful form.

Q. How do you think the Coronavirus will have affected the future design of bathroom fittings?

A. We suppose that taps will be used a lot more!

Q. Do you have any AXOR products in the pipeline right now?

A. We are working toward a big new launch in 2021, the result of many years of research and development. We are hopeful the new collection will address all the needs of the contemporary bathroom.

(Image shows the stormy Irish sea as viewed from the cottage in Wales that inspired Barber & Osgerby’s contribution to the AXOR Places of Memory project)