barber & osgerby and jasper morrison's below stairs at soane's museum

barber & osgerby and jasper morrison's below stairs at soane's museum

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

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    design news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    504,294 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample
    designboom magazine