The top table: designers win £15,000 prize for creating instant classic

A design duo, whose work includes a "Loop Table" made of bent plywood, won £15,000 yesterday in the country's most prestigious applied arts competition.

BarberOsgerby, comprising Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, beat four other leading British designers, including Tom Dixon, the design director of Habitat, to scoop the Jerwood Applied Arts Prize, the Turner Prize of its field.

Each year, the Jerwood, which is presented in collaboration with the Crafts Council, focuses on a different discipline, from ceramics to jewellery, textiles to glass. The emphasis for the prize this year was placed on furniture design.

London-based BarberOsgerby's winning work includes the "Loop Table", which is made of bent birch plywood.

It is already regarded as a design classic and can be seen at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

Barber and Osgerby were both born in 1969 and met at the Royal College of Art in London. They have worked together since 1996, with the aim of designing "things that people will find pleasing to use and own". Previous work includes designing hangers for Levi's engineered jeans, shop fittings for the fashion designer Stella McCartney and items for the Pharmacy restaurant that featured Damien Hirst's artwork. They are now designing bottles for Coca-Cola.

The judges, chaired by the design critic David Redhead, said they had been unanimous in choosing the young design team, "whose work combines clarity, coherence and beauty".

"Their work is a real marriage of craft and design that is both fresh and classic, and shows a true grasp of material and form," they said.

The others shortlisted for the prize were Tom Dixon, Jim Partridge, Shin and Tomoko Azumi and El Ultimo Grito.

Dixon came to fame with work sculpted from junk metal. More recently, he has been making work using the Fresh Fat Plastic machine, which produces spaghetti-type lengths of plastic, which can be woven or moulded while still warm.

Partridge is a craftsman in wood, who creates sculptural, monumental pieces of furniture designed to fit equally well in an urban or rural surrounding. Shin and Tomoko Azumi are a Japanese design partnership whose work is often multi-functional for use in small spaces, such as an armchair that turns into a table.

El Ultimo Grito are a Spanish duo based in London whose work is often interactive, such as shelving that the owner can move to his own specifications.

Now in its 10th year, the Jerwood Applied Arts Prize is accompanied by an exhibition of work by the shortlisted artists at the Crafts Council Gallery in London, which runs until 31 October before touring the UK. Visitors have been enthusiastic about BarberOsgerby's work. Comments included: "I want a Loop Table! Fantastic design - a piece to keep forever."

The prize is open to anyone who has been working in the UK for at least seven years and who has made an impression on the design world.

As well as Mr Redhead, the judging panel were: Olle Anderson, the managing director of White Design AB, Gothenburg; Tamsin Blanchard, the Style Editor of The Observer Magazine; Robert Kilvington, a furniture designer-maker; and Charles Rutherfoord, an architectural designer- maker.

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