British designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby launched 'On & On', their first collaboration with American furniture manufacturer Emeco at Salone del Mobile 2019. Barber Osgerby were tasked with the creation of a next generation café chair that is both simple and timeless. The result is a chair that feels moderns but references the iconic bent wood café chairs of the 1930s.
A product line that was in development for over a year and a half, the On & On series includes a café chair, bar stool and table height stool which are made from 70% recyclable PET (rPET), strengthened with 20% glass fibre and coloured using 10% non-toxic pigment - resulting in a collection that can recycled at the end of the product's life. The pieces have been designed to use as little material as possible, making them extremely lightweight and the efficient use of plastic ensures lower carbon emissions when shipping. Barber Osgerby were keen to collaborate with Emeco as the company is at the forefront of developing furniture made from environmentally friendly materials, recycling industrial waste material and mixing it with wood fibre or using recycled PET bottles. With closed loop recycling as the ultimate goal, Emeco is currently working on a chair-to-chair program where customers can return old chairs, and use the material to make their new chairs – all of which will be made and remade in America.
As well as designing an elegant chair, the challenge that Barber Osgerby faced was to design a chair which has the ability to stack and a visually lightweight appearance, but at the same time is extremely tough and hard wearing. It was just as important to Emeco for the chairs to look beautiful when stacked as a unit and the efficiency of the rotational stacking also helps to reduce the chairs carbon footprint when shipped around the world. Cafe chairs need to stack, they are continually moved indoors and outdoors. The On & On chair stacks vertically reducing the amount of storage space needed. Developing a rotational stacking chair was a welcome challenge for the studio; the backrest had to be thin enough for the next chair to nestle neatly inside, the opportunity was to create an efficient stacking chair without compromising comfort.
Together, Emeco and Barber Osgerby have created a collection of chairs and stools that are physically and visually lightweight, yet extremely strong and durable, making them suitable for both demanding commercial environments and domestic use, indoors and out. On & On is available to commercial and domestic clients Spring 2020.