Tom Dixon’s Clever Slab Stool
When last we heard from UK designer Tom Dixon, he’d just debuted the industrially-laden Screw Table at Salone 2009. This piece—clearly intended to pay homage to the mechanical and metaphorical machinations of an over-used and under-rated household object–is ingeniously functional and aesthetically striking. Of what other product, observed fellow 3ringer Alicita Rodriguez, can one say “the smooth marble top is luxurious, but the real star of the show is the central giant screw with its seductive swirls and nimble notches and graceful grooves.”
Slab Low Coffee Table. Designed by Tom Dixon
Building a product line around a graceful conceit comes naturally to Dixon. The “Slab Range” employs a most evocative nominal (one whose very sound conjures images of prodigious hunks of marble and gargantuan lengths of wood) to brand “a family of both high and low tables characterized by a deeply brushed and heavily lacquered surface.” Featuring dining and coffee tables as well as chairs and a long bench, the collection puts Dixon among the ranks of Brooklyn Designs’ mainstays Roger Benton and Eric Manigian, impeccable craftsmen who rather admire a good slab of oak. Dixon’s Slab Collection is simple wood joinery at its best. The heavily brushed lacquer highlights the grand gesture inherent in large sections of wood, and the angular legs provide contrasting textures and lines, emphasizing the solidity of the tops by imparting a sense of lightness to the base.
Slab Rectangular Dining Table. Designed by Tom Dixon.
Slab Bench. Designed by Tom Dixon.
Slab Chair. Designed by Tom Dixon.
Dixon has also found a way to maximize his resources. The most recent addition(s) to the collection, the Slab and Offcut Stools, are a kind of co-dependent pair: “the Slab bar stool is a heavily lacquered oak stool with a cast iron foot rest, while the Offcut Stool uses the scraps from the waney edge of an oak tree.” “Waney,” to those of you out who have never had the pleasure of laboring for a contractor, refers to the rough, irregular edges that are usually milled off and discarded. The former looks right at home among the other pieces in the Slab Collection while the latter sort of resembles an annoying cousin—somewhat uncomfortable in the company of its larger relatives, but yet possessed of a quirky inventiveness that only need find the right audience. With today’s increasing regard for production methods that maximize resources, I’m betting the Offcut Stool will quickly develop a cult following all its own