Designer Profile: Tom Dixon
Tom Dixon’s journey to the mantle of maverick designer and creative genius began when he dropped out of the Chelsea School of Art to play bass, while also teaching himself to weld and, subsequently, to build furniture.
Slab Dining Table for Tom Dixon.
By the mid 80s he earned notoriety for setting up “Space,” a storefront and creative think tank. Soon after he became known in design circles as “the talented untrained designer with a line in welded salvage furniture.”
Screw Table for Tom Dixon.
Followed collaboration with Italian firm Cappellini, for whom he authored the S-Chair. This sinuous sculpture consists of a dark lacquered metal frame wound tight with wicker, creating a curious constellation of sex appeal and entombment, as the resemblance to Egyptian mummification is pronounced. If the latter is not to your liking, S is also offered in myriad covering options, including fabric, leather, and various metal finishes.
S Chair originally for Cappellini; now licensed to Tom Dixon
The next notch of notoriety arrived with Jack, for Dixon’s 90s brand Eurolounge. Dubbed “the original sitting, lighting, stacking thing,” Jack is a curious intrusion of the apparently contrived yet eminently organic form known as polyhedra. Says Dixon “when you learn to recognize them they start to appear in everything—nature, crystals, seed pods, black magic, Islamic architecture, you name it.” Jack is certainly of artistic inclination, but the rotationally molded polyethylene piece is also quite functional, serving as floor lamp, chair, and impromptu storage.
Jack for Eurolounge and Tom Dixon
The Bird chaise is another iconic piece. An apt companion for the S-Chair, Bird definitely has the pointy features and stilted movements of many avian varieties. A “monolithic rocking chaise,” Bird’s singular achievement is its fine sense of balance, the equal distribution of parts enabling it to easily perch on its posterior and achieve gentle (or vigorous, if wanted) rocking with simple, subtle inertia.
Bird Chaise originally for Cappellini; now licensed to Tom Dixon
Who can turn away from the marvelous Melt Pendant? Created in collaboration with Swedish design firm Front, Melt is a ménage of molten metal and plastic. Produced with an innovative technique of metalizing molten plastic, Melt requires the use of injection blow moulding—a melted plastic polymer is injected into a massive steel form, which in turn is inflated with compressed air and then cooled. This polycarbonate shell is then introduced into a metallic chamber, which is electrified to transfer metallic fragments uniformly throughout the light. The resulting “vaporized copper foil” gives Melt its mirrored luminosity—an unprecedented and unusually arresting piece.
Melt Pendant for Tom Dixon in collaboration with Front
Most recently, Dixon has gotten into bed with Ikea. The recent Delaktig modular sofa/bed is—like many things Ikea—a model of function and efficiency. Consisting of an aluminum frame (lightweight, recyclable, and transportable), to which may be added various kinds of upholstered cushions as well as expansion clamps, Delaktig is not so much a product as a “platform”—a palette for creative thinking and an open forum for the many clever “hacks” that Ikea users have long devised for various products: “task lamps, coffee tables, and magazine racks can be clamped, slotted or bolted on at will, to mutate the sofa into a work or entertainment space… made of substantial and durable aluminium plate, the hacks are robust enough to last a lifetime.”
Delaktig Bed for Ikea
Tom Dixon has worked with Cappellini, Front, and Habitat. The bulk of his products are currently licensed and produced under the Tom Dixon Brand, but he also collaborates with various partner brands including Design Research Studio. He has been awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Arts, London and Birmingham City University. He also has the rare distinction of being bestowed OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by her majesty the Queen. His works are in permanent collections in museums across the world, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, Museums of Modern Art New York and Tokyo, and Centre Pompidou.
Read more about Mr. Dixon at Tom Dixon. And see Designer Pages Media for a profile of his ambitious remodel of Coal Office for his new offices, studio, and restaurant.
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