Barber and Osgerby's Design Museum exhibition
"could almost be called the aluminium show"

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British designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby have curated an exhibition at London's Design Museum containing a selection of objects paused part-way through the manufacturing process, which they joked reveals their obsession with aluminium.

Marbled glass cylinder at BarberOsgerby In The Making exhibition at London Design Museum
Marble still attached to its coloured glass cylinder at the In The Making exhibition

The 24 objects on show at Barber and Osgerby's In The Making exhibition have all been paused at a different stage of completion, chosen to demonstrate the way it's made or to show it when its most visually interesting. "Some of the items are more beautiful and sculptural than the finished pieces," said Barber during a tour of the exhibition.

Thonet chair back and legs at BarberOsgerby In The Making exhibition at London Design Museum
Bent-wood back and legs of a Thonet chair at the In The Making exhibition

At the entrance to the exhibition sits an aluminium section that would form the front of a London Underground train. The chunk of metal is instantly recognisable as belonging to a tube carriage even taken out of context.

Cork stoppers at BarberOsgerby In The Making exhibition at London Design Museum
Cork stoppers as they are extracted from bark at the In The Making exhibition

Seeing the train front in isolation also allows visitors to gauge the scale of the piece and the qualities of the material, which is true of all the objects on display.

Clay brick block at BarberOsgerby In The Making exhibition at London Design Museum
Staffordshire Blue Brick before it is cut into sections at the In The Making exhibition

Other aluminium items include the flat perforated outer skin of the duo's Olympic Torch before it has been joined into its 3D form, a drinks can without its top and the case of an Apple MacBook Pro.

Clay brick block at BarberOsgerby In The Making exhibition at London Design Museum
Staffordshire Blue Brick before it is cut into sections at the In The Making exhibition

"This could have be called the aluminium show," said Osgerby. "There are a number of aluminium pieces in this exhibition, which I think demonstrates the importance of the material - not least in its recyclability but also its malleability."

Optic lens Swarovski glass at BarberOsgerby In The Making exhibition at London Design Museum
Partially finished optic lens at the In The Making exhibition

Arranged along two black corridors, the objects are presented under spotlights like sculpture or jewellery. "Each object has been lit in this way to really try to animate the design and give it an importance," said Osgerby.

Objects at BarberOsgerby In The Making exhibition at London Design Museum
Objects paused part-way through their manufacture at the In The Making exhibition

Some of the manufacturing techniques are easily recognisable in the objects, such as the creation of pencils, while other more abstract forms are harder difficult to guess, like the conical top of a silicon cylinder used to create semi-conductive chips for electronics.

Tube train front at BarberOsgerby In The Making exhibition at London Design Museum
Aluminium front of a London Underground train at the entrance to the In The Making exhibition

A sheet of leftover lurid yellow felt with cut out strips used for tennis balls and the splayed upper of a Nike GS Football Boot were chosen for their graphic shapes.

French horn for BarberOsgerby In The Making exhibition at London Design Museum
French horn in the making. Photograph by György Kőrössy

"We were quite struck by the amazing graphic quality, which is something we've really paid attention to in our work," said Barber.

Cricket bat willow cleft for BarberOsgerby In The Making exhibition at London Design Museum
Cricket bat in the making. Photograph by György Kőrössy

Aside from the torch, Barber and Osgerby have also included their designs for a £2 coin to mark the 150th anniversary of the London Underground and the injection-moulded Tip Ton chair for design brand Vitra.

Derwent pencils 9 ply-block for BarberOsgerby In The Making exhibition at London Design Museum
Derwent pencils in the making. Photograph by György Kőrössy

Positioned at the ends of the displays are two larger items: a sofa by furniture brand B&B Italia that has been formed into shape with foam but not yet upholstered and a long cuboid of clay that would be sliced up into bricks.

Coca-Cola aluminium drinks can for BarberOsgerby In The Making exhibition at London Design Museum
Coca-Cola aluminium drinks can in the making. Photograph by György Kőrössy

Three screens are installed to show the manufacture of the items and visitors can take pamphlets containing more information about each object as they exit the exhibition space. These booklets were designed by London studio Build, which created all the graphics for the show.

Optic lens Swarovski glass for BarberOsgerby In The Making exhibition at London Design Museum
Optic lens in the making. Photograph by György Kőrössy

In The Making runs until 4 May at the Design Museum in London. Photography is by Mirren Rosie, courtesy of the Design Museum, unless otherwise stated.

  • bonsaiman

    Uber interesting exhibition.

  • designer

    I excessively watch shows like “How it’s made” so this is not that exciting for me. :)

  • http://instagram.com/riabhavnani Ria

    How much is entry into this exhibition? Does not state on the Design Museum website.