Barber + Osgerby’s Tobi-Ishi outdoor table is an achievement of volume manipulation and surface treatment. The words, tobi-ishi translates to “stepping stone”, referring to ornamental stones used in Japanese gardens. Upon first glance, Tobi-Ishi’s seemingly monolithic construction appears both massive and heavy – aesthetics not produced by stone itself, but rather by an unexpected combination of materials. The orientation of the Tobi-Ishi Outdoor’s gently curved rectilinear base supports at an open right angle provides both a levity to the perception of volume, as well as a range of varying aesthetics when the table is observed from different angles.
Barber + Osgerby is a design studio in London, established by designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby in 1996. Known for their work in furniture, lighting, and product design, Barber and Osgerby are both Royal Designers for Industry (RDI), and many of their award-winning pieces are placed as part of permanent collections in museums in both the United States and Great Britain. In addition to their industrial design studio, Barber and Osgerby founded an architecture and interior design studio, Universal Design Studio; as well as MAP, a consultant firm for industrial design strategy. Some of their early work started with folding and shaping sheet metal. Notable industrial design pieces include the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Torch; as well as the Tip Ton chair they designed in 2011 for Vitra.