At the table with Barry Jenkins
With over 20 years of experience under his belt, Barry Jenkins is a design force to be reckoned with. He started design consultancy, BroomeJenkins, in 2003 and leads a team of product designers who have considerable industrial experience, and an interest in how people use different environments, and how to make different spaces function.
Barry has worked with Ocee since 2017, and the FourFold® table solution BroomeJenkins designed for Ocee International recently was awarded a Design Guild Mark Award. At the same awards ceremony, Barry, and his work, was also honoured with the Jonathan Hindle Award.
We caught up with Barry at Clerkenwell Design Week to discuss the awards, designing the FourFold® and where he looks to for inspiration as a designer.
Firstly, congratulations on your award-winning design. Can you tell us what being awarded a Design Guild Mark for the FourFold means to you?
It is recognition of a very functional design and shows an understanding by the judges of the unique and definitive engineering resolution of the problem posed by the brief; to design a four-legged flip-up table that is safe and easy to use, and compact when stowed!
Can you tell us what inspired the design of the FourFold?
What inspired us was the technical challenge to create a geometry for a table frame that would do what it had to do, in a way entirely different to conventional flip-up tables.
Related News: FourFold has been awarded the Design Guild Mark
At BroomeJenkins you design furniture that addresses the changing needs of the workplace and workforce. How does the FourFold achieve this?
Flexibility has become so vitally important and furnishing a space in a way that can adapt and change subject to need means that furniture that can move, fold, be stowed etc. creates the inherent adaptability required today. We have also seen that with an increase in mobile IT and wireless connectivity that we can work on simple tables rather than traditional fixed desk systems. So FourFold is right for that environment and has multiple uses, from dining to learning to working.
As a designer, where do you look for inspiration in general?
As a designer nothing should be off limits to provide insights and observations that may eventually be expressed through our work. We consider our work in terms of ‘application’ and ‘execution’. Ultimately, it is about observing behaviour to provide practical user-centred solutions in terms of product application. Then, technically where we think about execution, we want to design things that are simple and efficient and have a lasting quality. We are not interested in chasing the latest fashion, although fully understand that stylistic trends influence a designers work whether deliberately or subconsciously.
Today, however the greatest challenge designers face is the climate crisis. Design and designers are part of the problem and we therefore need to be a part of the solution. Finding inspiration in the need to avoid excess, avoid processes that are not required and use materials in a way that is more circular is our focus. Ultimately, a product that is well made and enjoyed by its user will last longer and therefore have a better use of materials and resources than a product that is discarded and cannot be recycled easily.
So in answer to your question, we are inspired by wanting to be responsible designers that clients like working with.