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Tom Dixon has always done things his own way. One of Britain’s most successful designers, known for his furniture and lighting collections, he focuses not only designing but also on challenging the conventions of the industry. He’s interested in big business, having combined the creative with the commercial throughout his career.Frustrated by how difficult it was to distribute furniture in a complex and old-fashioned system, he reflected on how he could make it a bit more modern, like other industries. So he did what other designers wouldn’t dare do: give away his work for free. He has held “straight from the manufacture to the consumer” events, for example his freebie projects like the Great Chair Grab or Great Light Giveaway, which eliminated the middleman, and turned design into performance by making the clear plastic Fresh Fat Easy Chair woven by hand in one continuous piece in a repeated link pattern, live onstage and to order – as if going back to his roots when he used to make objects himself.
Creative Director of eponymous brand Tom Dixon and founder of Design Research Studio, will discuss the importance of the changing landscape of industrial manufacture to design.
In 2010 Dixon authored and self-published a book, Industry, which proposed alternative policies of manufacture, distribution and consumption of design. Dixon has experimented with forms of ‘flash’ or pop-up factories that make a spectacle of the industrial process of laser cutting, stamping and etching. His interiors and architectural studio recently completed his first ever hotel project, a redesign of Sea Containers House on the Thames in London.
Tom has also designed shops, bars and clothes – all with clean minimalist functionality. Committed to building on Britain’s design heritage, he finds inspiration from the way things are manufactured rather than making the process fit his design.