At ICFF: Tom Dixon’s Portable Manufacture is a Flash Factory

Not that we play favorites here at 3rings, but certain designers just seem to constantly be on the cutting edge or the proverbial pushed-envelope with an accumulating frequency. Spain's Patricia Urquiola is certainly one (check out her latest contribution), and the U.K.'s Tom Dixon is another. Lately familiar to 3rings readers for his Slab Stool and Veuve Clicquot installation, Dixon gave us a sneak peak in March of his Industry concept, focusing on the shiny, metallic symphony called Void Lighting.

Tom Dixion's booth at ICFF, 2010.

Since then, Industry has morphed into a fully-realized collection including Peg, a highly-portable and portentously-stackable solid wood chair; the Offcut Bench, a flat-packed furnishing made from re-purposed factory throwaways; and Jack, a "polyethylene sitting, stacking, lighting thing."

The new collection impressed attendees at Salone with its efficient manufacture. But perhaps I should re-phrase that: it impressed everyone with its engaging aesthetic first and its efficient manufacture second, for Industry seems to be part of a recent Dixonian thread to create first-rate product that follows a new paradigm for its creation. And on that score, Dixon's most recent contribution--the Flash Factory concept--not only drew a slew of admiring folks eager to participate in this hands-on demonstration at last week's ICFF, it also elicited rave reviews from the editors' table, earning "Best Multiple Production."

At ICFF: Tom Dixon’s Portable Manufacture is a Flash Factory

At ICFF: Tom Dixon’s Portable Manufacture is a Flash Factory

At ICFF: Tom Dixon’s Portable Manufacture is a Flash Factory

Flash Factory seems a logical confluence of Dixon's burgeoning interest in the aesthetics and mechanics of production, an interest piqued by what he describes as a somewhat outmoded and often wasteful way of doing things: "if you start factoring how inefficient the furniture business is in transporting things across the world, warehousing them, sending them out to a variety of design shops where they gather dust... it might be nicer to just make things for specific events" (from Metropolis). The formula is exactly that of Dixon's display at the recent fair. One in which interns (American interns at that!) assemble a handful of Flash Factory products (Brass Candle Holders and Brass/Stainless Steel Lights) at relatively low cost and to the infinite delight of attendees who get to walk away with an authentic Dixon object for the mere sum of $45. The idea is certainly propitious, addressing many of the ecological dilemmas of traditional large-scale production while embracing local manufacture and local economies (and starving design students). If you have a look at the recent post about Mabeo, you'll quickly intuit that these changing paradigms are a trend, and a happy trend at that!

Posted May 27, 2010 by Joseph Starr

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