Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby know a thing or two about design -- the duo snagged an Order of the British Empire Award (or OBE) for their work on the London 2012 Olympic Torch. So it's no surprise that their sofa collection turned heads after its unveiling at Salone del Mobile 2013 in Milan.
The sofa collection, designed for American brand Knoll, offers an ideal mixture of style and comfort, a balance that's increasingly elusive amid the sharp angles and stark silhouettes crowding display windows at contemporary design shops today. In many ways, the series -- which consists of two- and three-seat sofas, an armchair and ottomans, and an aluminum-based side table/stool -- is a testament to the team's intense focus on purpose. Paramount in the designers' minds was inspiring the right kinds of interactions within a space by creating a relaxed and welcoming impression. In Barber and Osgerby's words: “Given a sofa’s scale and prominence in a room, we felt that the pieces should be formally balanced and calm, expressing their character through detail."
Those goals are embodied through a mix of sturdy architectural profiles and stitched seams, muted by curved cushions that soften each face. Cast aluminum feet -- available in chrome or an array of painted finishes including red and black -- clearly serve as focal points, tastefully contrasting the available range of upholstery and separating the collection from the sea of seating arrangements offered by other designers. Like the unmistakable swooping frame of a Barcelona chair, this distinctive trademark may well gain legs as a future design icon.
Only time will tell whether or not Barber & Osgerby's contribution will match the lasting impressions left by Mies, Florence, and Saarinen in the Knoll portfolio, but following the philosophies of greats like Eames can't hurt their chances. Even if it doesn't reach iconic status, the collection deserves our praise for emphasizing livability in tandem with style.
Excellence, innovation, craftsmanship, and an unwavering desire to challenge expectations -- these are the constants that have captivated our attention since Gear Patrol's inception in 2007. This year we're proud to announce the next step in our role as a champion of quality in product design and execution: welcome to the GP100. Our inaugural product awards are dedicated to honoring the 100 best consumer products released during the calendar year by companies of all sizes and scope.
The GP100 is not a ranking or a contest. These selections represent the collective expertise of our entire editorial staff, who have scoured every corner of the vast product universe -- from automotive and electronics, to men's style essentials, home goods, spirits and outdoors -- to find the inspiring and the practical, the ground-breaking and the traditional, the priceless and the accessible. In short: products that define or defy their respective categories to better the life of the modern man.
The GP100 is not a contest influenced by marketers or brands, nor is it a ranking by specifications as determined by uniform tests. Instead, it starts with a comprehensive list of nominees released in the calendar year, researched and compiled by our editorial team of obsessed experts across all of Gear Patrol's major areas of interest including Motoring, Technology, Style, Home, Spirits, Outdoor and Watches. Brands are not part of the selection process. Nominees are then debated in context of the past, present and future of their respective fields. Which selections stand as significant innovations, category busters or faithful monuments to the icons of history? Do they adhere to Gear Patrol's core tenets of excellence, design, utility and the spirit of adventure? Distilled to the following 100 items, the GP100 represents the best products on earth released in 2013 -- easily inspiring consumers and creators alike during their search for guideposts of excellence in a vast world of products.
Motoring Watches Style Technology Sports Outdoors Home Spirits
Jeremy BergerBen Bowers