“If I had not been a designer, I would be a civil engineer, as inventing, planning and marketing for me are more interesting than actual design.”- Tom Dixon
Tom Dixon is a self-taught designer. He is currently the Creative Director of the brand ‘Tom Dixon’ specialising in Lighting, Furniture and Accessories.He is author of book Dixonary, a collection of “illuminations, revelations and post-rationalizations from a chaotic mind.
He was born in Tunis 1959. When he was 4 years old his family moved in Britain. After school in London, he passed school of art, but after motoaccident he gave up. After it he played bass guitar for the rock-band. He ran several night clubs. He had huge amount of free time and started learn to weld, his first furniture designs were made from found objects like bits of scaffolding and old grates. It was like hobby. There was a second motto-accident and he had to give up for music finally because of his broken arm. That’s why he decided to make his hobby his general activity in life.
“Unhindered by commercial concerns (I had my night job,) or formal training, I made things just for the pleasure of making them. It was only when people started to buy that I realised I had hit on a form of alchemy… I could turn a pile of scrap metal into gold.”– Tom Dixon
In 1958 he opened his first master-shop Creative Salvage, lately Creative Space. Things produced in the shop were exclusive ones or at least with very restricted amount. His iconic Kitchen Chair and Chair X became one of the most famous works for the end of 80s. These chairs highlight the perfection of the work. Dixon’s work soon became the object for professionals, including the world-famous Italian designer Giulio Cappellini. He took care about many industrial designers, such as, Jasper Morison, Rudolph Dordone, Mark Newson, etc. He pushed Dixon to gain the place among worlds famous designers.
In 1994 he became a household name with ‘Jack’, his polyethylene “sitting, stacking, lighting thing” designed for his own company ‘Eurolounge.’ He participated in the Victoria and Albert exhibition in London and in MOMA in San Francisco. In 1998 Tom was appointed head of design by Habitat and later became Creative Director until 2008. He was the public face of a collective team responsible for rejuvenating the Habitat brand.
In 1998 he started working at a design studio Habitat and in 2001 he already became its art director. The company’s policy encouraged availability of high-quality and tasteful furniture to everyone, and thus, from individual it turned to mass-production. However, Tom remained to be an independent designer preparing projects for many European, as well as his own companies. In 2004 he was appointed as Artek’s art director, which was founded back in 1934 by Alvaar Alto and according to Dixon: “Perhaps it is the only furniture company in the world, which stayed unchanged since the time of modernism. It has a rich cultural and historical heritage”. Here he sees his role as an introduce of new energy so that it can regain its lost importance.
In addition, he is the head of Bombay Sapphire Foundation, which has been continuously funding new ideas. The Fund’s support led to creating sofa –Dixon’s one of the last works, which is a 45-meter-long and therefore the world’s longest couch. It was exhibited at Milan airport, where annually famous furniture exhibition – Saloni Milano is held.
“The speed with which innovations are being introduced to modern humans is so great that it has become a fashion cycle. They thrive for novelties. There is no time to establish and then set a new style. In terms of accessibility, this pace is perfect, but it does not contribute to the deepening and enrichment “.
While speaking about his own creative methods, he mentions the assessment of his Italian colleague and friend Fabio Novembre: “Dixon is the “designer of spine”, which means that he is more interested in the structure and design, rather than its form or appearance.”
Tom Dixon is probably the most interesting, perhaps in the lighting design. His products are distinguished not only because of the perfection of forms, but also the diversity of the material and a lot of experimentation, which led to the set up of his amazing creations, be it a wall lamp, floor lamps or chandeliers. Today one of the most important designer, surprises the world with each new product. His whole career is like one continuous story, which offers a unique novelty in each new paragraph.
Dixon believes that he is not satisfied with his achievements. “There are so many different objects in the world that I would work on: bridges, buildings, bikes, hydroplanes, watches, mobile phones, women’s Handbags. In short, those things that I have not worked on yet”.
Author: Dodochi Gogia
English Edit: Dodochi Gogia/Nutsa Nmoradze