image © gareth gardner




london design festival: for the 2016 london design festival, edward barber & jay osgerby, jasper morrison, martino gamper and paul cocksedge present the ‘below stairs’ exhibition at sir john soane’s museum. located in the georgian house’s regency kitchens – one of many newly reinstated spaces in the museum’s seven year restoration – the designers’ group of bespoke work informs how we design for our lives today. curated by rachael barraclough and zoë wilkinson, the exhibition’s title refers to the life of sir john soane’s staff and servants in the basement of the building. each designer considered their product in relation to the kitchens, after being invited and visiting the unseen before rooms.

the ‘port black’ vase sitting atop of the ‘tobi ishi’ table
image © gareth gardner




edward barber and jay osgerby focused on the central role of the table, creating a special edition ‘tobi ishi’ table for B&B italia. its timo green color features a gloss finish that required 50 layers of lacquer, giving it an eye-catching presence in the kitchen. sitting atop of the table is their ‘port black’ vase for venini, which has been specially made in black glass.

martino gamper vase collection utilizes materials found across the museum
image © gareth gardner




studying how the original domestic objects would have been used daily in the kitchens, jasper morrison places antique glassware into his limited edition ‘object frame’ line. this framing of antiques has created a contemplative installation inside of the museum’s newly opened kitchens.


‘the fact that the object frame serves to store and display these items, reduces its presence and the effect it has on the atmosphere to a minimum, whilst displaying the pieces it enhances the atmosphere of the old kitchen by adding objects which would originally have been present, but which have for sometime been stored elsewhere.’ stated jasper morrison.

image © gareth gardner




influenced by sir john soane’s extensive display of objects and grand use of materials, martino gamper has fused some of the resources found around the house, into a collection of vases. the ‘duotone’, ‘off-cut lino’ and ‘vasenamel’ are displayed across the kitchen, creating subtle contrast with the old rooms.

a close-up of the vases that incorporate materials found throughout the soane museum
image © gareth gardner




after seeing the original space and the amber-colored glass that soane used throughout the museum, paul cocksedge further recreates this warm glow of the mediterranean sunlight. by sealing the rear kitchen’s windows with layers of colored film, the light installation absorbs the sunrays and casts an atmospheric glow.

martino gamper has placed his vases on display throughout the renovated kitchens




rachael barraclough, curator of below stairs says: ‘there is always a fascination with seeing people’s kitchens, and the soane museum kitchen has a natural appeal to it. there is something rather haunting about this once bustling and noisy place that is now oddly, the quietest and calmest part of the museum. we’ve chosen these pieces because they evoke a ghostly reminder of what was.’

paul cocksedge’s soane’s light
image © mark cocksedge




running throughout the 2016 london design festival, the ‘below stairs’ exhibition is open from the 13th september 2016 to 28th january 2017.

the installation recreates the warm glow of the mediterranean
image © mark cocksedge


image © mark cocksedge