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The Big Names Behind Iconic Designs: Barber & Osgerby and Jonathan Ive

You may not be familiar with their names, but SEEN’s sure that you know their designs. From the first piece designed in 1997 in their studio in Trellick Tower, London - the Loop Table, current leading British designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby have produced two of the most iconic contemporary British designs: The London Olympic Torch, and the ₤2 coin, commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the London Underground in 2013.

You may not be familiar with their names, but SEEN’s sure that you know their designs.

From the first piece designed in 1997 in their studio in Trellick Tower, London – the Loop Table, current leading British designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby have produced two of the most iconic contemporary British designs: The London Olympic Torch, and the ₤2 coin, commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the London Underground in 2013.

Their iconic torch was carried across the UK for 70 days leading up to the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics. The Torch’s trilateral form was developed from a pattern of trinities in the history of the Olympic Games: this was the third time that the Games have been held in London (1908, 1948, 2012); the Olympic motto was ‘faster, higher, stronger’; and the vision of the Games was to unite ‘sport, education and culture’.

seen london B&O_London 2012 Olympic Torch_white

The shape of the Torch was designed to enable an easy grip, thanks to its tactile surface, perforated with 8,000 circles using cutting-edge laser technology. These circles symbolised the 8,000 individuals who took part in the Olympic Torch Relay and also created a unique level of transparency in the Torch, allowing a view right to the heart of the Flame. Functionally, the circles reduced the Torch’s overall weight and ensured that heat from its Flame was quickly dissipated without being conducted down the handle.

This Olympic Torch was one of the lightest ever, crafted from aluminium alloy, which was developed for the aerospace and automotive industries, not only for its lightness but also for its tensile strength and heat resistance. It was tested to function in high altitudes, sub-zero temperatures and significant winds.

The £2 Coin, struck to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the London Underground, in 2013. It depicts the recognisable face of an Underground train emerging from the darkness of a tube tunnel. The train referenced is the 1967 Victoria line train, and was chosen for two reasons: the designers’ affinity to its aesthetic simplicity and the wide recognition of this particular train due to the iconic status it had gained over the years.

seen london B&O_£2 Coin white_Royal Mint

Barber & Osgerby used the outer ring of the coin graphically to suggest the tunnel wall. The rails traverse the outer ring, contradicting conventions of a concentric frame, while the use of a ground line in the artwork references the ‘exergue’ of classical coins. The designers created a sense of movement and abstraction in the coin surface by changing the ground line from a bi-dimensional view to a perspective view, where the rails cross the coin’s outer circle.
Next time you have one of these pieces of iconic British design in your hands, SEEN guarantees you’ll look at it differently.

THE MAN BEHIND THE APPLE

You may not know the name of Jonathan Ive, since he seldom appears in the press. But believe it or not, this man has transformed the lives of millions of people all over the world. We spend more time with his designs than with our loved ones. But keep the iconic bitten silhouette of an apple in your mind. He’s one of a certain computer company’s best-kept secrets.

seen london apple-exec-jony-ive

Ive is currently the Chief Design Officer of Apple Inc., responsible for all design. Born in 1967 in Chingford, London, he earned a BA in Industrial Design at Newcastle Polytechnic (now Northumbria University), graduating in 1989. After working for several years in London, he moved to Silicon Valley in 1992 to work for Apple. It wasn’t until he teamed up with best friend and colleague Steve Jobs, that he started to really love his work, leading Apple’s design team. With design as the chief focus of the firm’s product strategy, Jobs and Ive made up the world’s best design team in decades, with a series of functionally clean, aesthetically pleasing and remarkably popular products. Ive’s first design assignment was the iMac; it helped pave the way for many other designs, such as the iPod and eventually the iPhone and the iPad.

Thanks to his passion for product design and his problems with computers (he considered himself “technically inept”), we owe our iconic high-tech beauties to him, such as the MacBook Pro, iMac, MacBook Air, Mac mini, iPod, iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini, Apple Watch and iOS. He holds over 5,000 patents and has been recognised with numerous design awards.

In 2012, D&AD named Ive and his team the Best Design Studio of the past 50 years. Their work is featured in the permanent collections of museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Pompidou in Paris.
In 2013, Sir Jonathan Ive was made a Knight Commander of the British Empire “for services to design and enterprise.”

SEEN can’t imagine living without his designs. Technology would be a lot more boring… and a lot less iconic. World-wide talent born right here in Britain. SEEN couldn’t be prouder.

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