Furniture design

Isokon Plus launches Shell Table and Chair by Barber & Osgerby

Isokon Plus has reissued the Shell Chair and created a new finish for the accompanying Shell Table, both designed by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby in 2000.

The Shell Chair was originally produced in a limited edition of 30. Now, for the first time, the Shell Chair and Shell Table are both in full production. Super lightweight, but incredibly strong, the Chair is made from moulded birch plywood and is available in the original natural birch ply and a Teal Blue – the first in a series of new stained colours.

Isokon Plus - chair perspective view
The Shell Chair was originally produced in a limited edition of 30

Barber & Osgerby are fascinated by creating structural form from folded sheet materials. A paper-thin chair presents a set of interesting design problems, not least those of comfort and strength.

The process of continual iteration, in both line-work and card, informed the straightforward yet elegant character of the Chair. The final form is evocative of the white card models used in the design process, which contributes to the chair’s physical and visual lightness. Although the form is simple, the production process has been pushed to its technical limits. Considerable finesse was required in the jointing of the components and, like with the Shell Table, mechanical fixings were avoided. This was only possible because of the exceptional craftsmanship of furniture manufacturer Isokon Plus.

Isokon Plus - Shell chair front view

The Shell Table is designed as a simple, incredibly lightweight table, consisting of a moulded laminated top and legs. Made from only five components, the uncompromising glued joints create a strikingly clean and simple table with no visible interruption to the outside skin.

The table makes reference to Marcel Breuer’s original table for Isokon from 1936. The two tables share similar aesthetics and physical attributes including the incredibly strong yet flexible laminated top. This means the table will ‘self-level’ on an uneven floor, with the top flexing to make up for subtle differences in the positions of the four table legs.

If you want to know more about simple yet unique table designs, don’t miss The Flying Table designed by JCPCDR Architecture.

Isokon Plus - Shell Table front view
The Shell Table makes reference to Marcel Breuer’s original table for Isokon from 1936

In 2004, the Shell Table was nominated for the Compasso D’Oro. New for 2020, Isokon Plus has developed a new manufacturing technique at their London workshop, which allows the Shell Table to be available in natural birch. This new finish adds to the existing range of painted finishes.

If you are curious to know more about wooden furniture design, don’t miss MAZEL – Wooden furniture collection by Fabien Roy.

Isokon Plu - shell table in perspective