Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby
Available both round and rectangular with rounded ends, Tobi-Ishi is a sculptural table that makes reference, stylistically and in its very name, to the ornamental stones used in traditional Japanese gardens. This iconic table brings together functional features with a statuesque appearance, with truly amazing results. The overhanging top and bases look different depending on the viewpoint, while the various finishes endow the table with highly personal interpretations: from cement grout to marble, and from matt lacquering in a wide range of colours to glossy lacquering in sophisticated candy red and smoke blue hues.
The table that became a sculpture.
Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby first project for B&B Italia was Tobi-Ishi, a round dining table clearly inspired by Zen. The design duo are great enthusiasts of Japanese art and culture and the name and concept for this table came from the smooth stones (tobi-ishi) used as ornaments in traditional Japanese Zen gardens. The overhang of the table and the vertical trapezoidal bases set at right angles generate an essential sculptural figure that appears to change shape depending on the point of observation. The search for equilibrium between shapes and materials is expressed in the Tobi-Ishi table through the many materials: cement grout, lacquered finish, marble, and oak for the low table.
MDF wood fibre panel
high density polyurethane resin (Baydur®)
Top and legs (T160M)
marble (matt polyester finish or glossy polyester finish)
Coupling plate (T160M)
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Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby founded their East London studio in 1996, after studying architecture together at the Royal College of Art. Their approach is characterised by its emphasis on experimentation and innovation and an exploratory attitude to materiality and colour.
From these areas of focus emerge solutions that reflect the close relationship of their work with industrial processes and new technologies, but also its affinities with fine art. The strength of Barber and Osgerby’s creative partnership has led to collaborations with some of the world’s most progressive companies and a diversity of output that encompasses architecture, interiors, sculpture, product and exhibition design. Amongst many professional accolades, Barber and Osgerby received the Jerwood prize in 2004 and in 2007 were awarded the status of “Royal Designers for Industry”. In 2013 they were appointed to the Order of the British Empire, for services to the design industry.
Examples of their work are held in the permanent collections of major museums around the world, such as the Design Museum in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, to name a few. In 2001 Barber and Osgerby founded Universal to function in parallel with their primary studio. Focused on the fields of architecture, interiors and exhibition design, Universal is now recognised as one of the world’s most innovative creative design consultancies. In 2012 they launched Map, a strategy-based industrial design consultancy, Map.