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Signals lights by Barber and Osgerby feature big cones of blown glass

Colourful cones of Murano glass give a graphic feel to this series of limited-edition lights created by British designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby for Galerie Kreo.

Signals sees London-based Barber and Osgerby combine the cone – a shape that the pair like to use in their designs – with their love of Venetian glassblowing.

Signals lights at Galerie Kreo London
Signals debuted in an exhibition at Galerie Kreo London

The collection includes totemic floor lamps, geometric pendants and playful wall lights, each created by setting the delicate Venini glass cones into aluminium box sections.

As a result, the lamps are reminiscent of loudspeakers or megaphones.

Signals lights at Galerie Kreo London
The collection includes wall, floor and ceiling lights

“The cone is a recurring form for us, I think because it’s such a pleasing form,” Barber told Dezeen. “It’s so pure and it does evoke a function.”

Signals, which is shortlisted for Dezeen Awards 2022 in the lighting design category, debuted in an exhibition at Galerie Kreo in London earlier this year and was also presented in Paris.

Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby with Signals lights
The cone is a recurring form in the work of designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby

The designs feature a playful colour palette that combines vivid tones with more muted shades.

As all Murano glass workshops have their own distinct colours, Barber and Osgerby started by making a selection of Venini glass samples. The studio then added in shades it felt would complement the samples.

Signals floor lamp by Barber and Osgerby
The lamps combine blown-glass cones with aluminium box sections

The intricacy of the glassblowing process means that each piece has its own unique finish.

“Certain colours radically change depending on atmospheric pressure, so you never know quite what you’re going to get,” said Barber.

By contrast, the handcrafted aluminium elements have a lacquer finish that creates a sense of precision.

“We found that quite an interesting juxtaposition of materials,” added Barber.

Signals floor lamp with red glass
The cones were mouth-blown at the Venini workshops in Murano

The production process for Signals was made difficult by the Covid-19 pandemic. This meant the designers weren’t able to visit the factory and had to make key decisions from photographs and Zoom calls.

The pair only saw the pieces for the first time when they arrived at Galerie Kreo, ready to be assembled for the exhibition.

Signals floor lamp in pale shades
The designs comes in a variety of colour combinations

This didn’t lessen the impact of the final product, according to Barber.

“They really worked out better than we thought they would, which is rare,” he said.

“The cones are very three-dimensional, but when you stand directly you get this optical illusion that makes them flatten out completely. You get this incredible reflection in the cone from the lightbulb, which is also a handblown piece designed by us, and then from the back you see this beautiful colour coming through the glass.”

The studio is now set to unveil a new version of Signals at PAD London 2022, which runs from 10 to 16 October.

Signals pendant lamp in red glass
Barber and Osgerby previously worked with Galerie Kreo on the Hakone furniture

Barber and Osgerby founded their industrial design studio in 1996. Other projects by the pair include the Plan Chair for Fredericia and the London 2012 Olympic Torch.

The pair previously worked with Galerie Kreo on Hakone, a collection of furniture pieces crafted from European oak.

The photography is by Eva Herzog.

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