Tom Dixon’s monochromatic, multisensory design experiences

2019 Furniture and lighting lines strip down to the bare essentials

Visiting Vancouver this spring, a city that Tom Dixon finds “very welcoming,” the acclaimed British designer who seems to defy convention, expanded his artistic horizons yet again.
 
On a coast-to-coast tour of the U.S. and Canada, unveiling his 2019 furniture and lighting collections and taking cues from lessons he learned in the rock ’n’ roll business, Dixon and his creative team hit the road to preview his new creations in Portland, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Austin, Seattle, Toronto and Vancouver on the Big Fat American Tour, and throwing industry parties that assuaged the senses along the way.
 
At the edgy Railtown venue, INFORM, cast and crew were preparing for the evening’s later unveiling, and the sound checks sounded like blow horns as the caterers rolled in their trolleys, laden with a multitude of delights, as the furniture installations were simultaneously being set up.
 
Each featured never-before-seen FAT furniture and OPAL lighting on the Big Fat American Tour were meant to be seen and experienced by not only professionals in architecture and interior design, but by fans and followers as well during the unveiling.
 
“We’ve been inspired by remnants of the literature: The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, and On The Road, Dixon says, referring to Tom Wolfe and Jack Kerouac’s literary cult classics, respectively. “In the music business, you get on the road, and travel, until people understand what you’re talking about,” Dixon says.
 
This time, Dixon talks about a holistic approach to design – and the many facets of thought that went into the pieces. The new upholstered range is designed to hug the body and enable a variety of sitting positions that provide comfort, whether being a high stool or low lounge chair.
 
“The chairs are quite difficult, and complicated; there so many proponents, it’s hard to give them a lot of character without them being too extravagant,” Dixon says.
The simplicity of the furniture’s components is a testament to form following function, while maintaining a clean silhouette and a reductionist aesthetic.
 
Dixon says the lighting installations are not as “extraordinary” as some produced in the past, as this year’s colour scheme is monochromatic.
 
“We’re trying to strip back to the bare essentials and clean up the collection,” Dixon relates. “The emphasis is more on the shapes. Decor doesn’t stop at just the comfort or the colours, it’s a whole experience; it’s more about the furnishings of the space.”
 
The FAT and Opal collections are on display at Dixon’s latest venue, his restaurant Manzoni, which opened this spring in Milan and doubles as a furniture showroom. But it doesn’t stop at furnishings – Dixon’s brand permeates all the senses at Manzoni.
 
“We do sights, sounds, smells, and tastes,” Dixon says.   
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