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L-R: Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby The Mariposa Sofa for Vitra with mechanically adjustable armrests The Wood Table and Wood Bench for Vitra Planophore Shelves for Vitra, a duel purpose room divider and book shelf
20 May 2014

Barber & Osgerby discuss their designs for Vitra

Words by 

onoffice caught a quick five minutes with Jay Osgerby and Edward Barber to talk about the new Barber & Osgerby collection for Vitra.

So, is this collection a progression of your TipTon chair, also for Vitra?

Yes, it's along the same theme in that it's all kinetic. I'm not sure if that was deliberate or coincidental, but there's a theme of movement in everything we do. The sofa is articulated, so you can find your own level of comfort, and the shelving supports act as dividers, which you can turn to make into a room divider or use as bookends.

What value does that add to the designs?

Well it's interactive, it involves the person, but it's also very aware of the room it's in. One of the reasons the back of the sofa goes down is that it's fairly high, so it enables you to see over the back. And the shelving, you can put it mid-floor, so you can close off or open up a space.

Where do you envisage it being used?

All of Vitra's products have an ethos of multi-use in different environments, so that's one of the key aims. It can be used at home or in an office, or in a home office. There's so much crossover these days between the two areas, so hopefully these things can accommodate that, depending on the finish you have.

Have you noticed that there's been a shift in the industry, with those two worlds – home and office – converging?

They really are. It's very hard to differentiate, sometimes, between living and working. They used to be discrete things but now we live and work and work and live. Things have been disseminated and mixed up, mainly because technology has enabled that to happen. It's pretty simple stuff. You don't have to sit at a computer anymore, you can work there [points to the sofa] as well as you can work at a workstation.

And that's opened up lots of opportunities for designers...

It has, yes. We're working on all sorts of products for Vitra for the future of the office.

We heard a rumour that you're doing up your offices...

We are; actually that might be interesting for onoffice. It'll be ready in a couple of months. It's an expansion, we've gone from 185sqm to 850sq m. Our studio's really growing; we're 70 people now. So we need to grow the space to accommodate the growth of the business. It's a common problem. Well, not really a problem... 

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