A meaningful miscellany: Olio by Barber Osgerby

Barber Osgerby‘s new collection for Royal Doulton exemplifies the design and craftsmanship that are intrinsic to this heritage brand. 

A meaningful miscellany: Olio by Barber Osgerby

The word ‘olio’ means a miscellaneous collection of things and the collection is composed of an intriguing palette of materials, textures and colours. Wooden serving platters mingle with a refined colour palette of tactile glazed and unglazed stoneware, all immaculately crafted to maintain their individual identity and integrity while harmoniously combining to form a greater whole.


“The collection is about letting the material show its natural beauty,” say Barber & Osgerby. “For example, we made sure the stoneware pieces were glazed where they need to be but matt where you hold them so you can feel what they are made from.”

Barber Osgerby were also specifically inspired by Royal Doulton’s early history of manufacturing stoneware, citing the salt-glazed clay pipes the company made during the nineteenth century as a reference for the exposed stoneware used throughout the collection.

“What most of the high-end china brands have relied on until fairly recently is having matching pieces that are all based on one design element, but people don’t necessarily want traditional dinner sets any more,” say Barber Osgerby.

In response, Olio allows people to build up their own personal collection of tableware – from a single piece to a tabletop-full. These are pieces that will stand alone or sit happily alongside prior possessions, thanks to their timeless design, unique character and exceptional quality.

As Barber Osgerby note, “the collection is reminiscent of timeless found objects that have their roots in the manmade. We imagine people will use the range in an ad-hoc way and enjoy combining it with existing pieces.”

The word ‘curate’ is much-used at the moment – some would say over-used. But it seems entirely apt to describe Olio as an invitation to curate your own unique assortment of pieces, on whatever scale you wish.

Olio is currently on display at twentytwentyone’s Upper Street shop and is also available online.

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