Tom Dixon: at the coalface

Written by Sara Black

Photography Supplied

Tom “I suffer from obsessions” Dixon talks us through his new designs.

In celebration of the zoom variety, INDEX joined Tom Dixon to kick off the re-opening of his refreshed London ‘Coal Office’ restaurant/studio and were privy to his new AW20 collection of homewares. Cork, polished stainless steel, marble, brass and copper are all in the mix (as per) and we’re fizzing to see the pieces land in New Zealand.

I sat at my laptop, a bowl of soup before me (hope he wasn’t watching, not pretty) and joined the pack of Asian Press constituents. All 31 of us. Tom offered a brief hello and began floating around his restaurant showing off glimpses of new designs. At one point jumping atop a dining table to touch a light pendant. 8/10 for the dismount. “It’s a great testing bed for new products.”

What was on offer?

“Using the most basics of forms,” Dixon designs a new range of cocktail glasses. The goal? An exercise in perfect proportions. Success.

The bougiest table I’ve ever seen, Mass is “made of a single extrusion of brass”, an archetypal dining table in a rarely-seen-in-domestic-situations material with strong references to tradition. The first in a series, it’s a made-to-order piece. 

Dixon does enjoy “dining table rituals” and what better way to share his passion? A set of polished stainless steel salt and pepper grinders. The vision is all about the expressed handles, sleek conical silhouettes and mighty mechanisms. 

What can I say? A fellow cork-obsessive, the Cork collection was a personal highlight. Glorious, round pieces of furniture all crafted from the material of the future (I’m calling it). Not only is this stuff visually superior, it’s light, water-resistant, beautifully tactile, carbon negative, acoustics improving and, added bonus, provides a “defined perfume.”

The smallest of pieces packing a big punch. Morsels of turned lathe solid brass house cones of incense and create an “inordinate amount of atmosphere.”

A collection that Dixon calls a “homage to my youth”, Cut is a futuristic and faceted exercise in optics.

Launched at Milan’s 2019 Furniture Fair, we see the umbrella-inspired Spring pendants take on a stainless steel profile, previously only available in white or brass.

An early stand-out, the Press collection is all about thick glass and “expressed decoration.” It’s a beautiful bounty of indestructible cast glass, a “fat sausage of glass” of which Dixon gleefully gives (not officially) a 1,000-year guarantee.

Another winner was Globe, a lighting collection of half-metalised surfaces designed in hopes of relieving Dixon of his “never really satisfied” dreams. The perfectly spherical orbs revealing a multiplicity of internal reflections from the LED lights.

What else?
We spied modular systems, more Fat pieces in the form of chaise longue-ish shapes, and reworked Flash tables featuring a new Primavera marble top. Swirl and Opal made quick guest appearances (can’t remember why, sorry) and the Copper collection gets a black-lacquer paint job. 

Dixon talked of Covid-19 and its entrepreneurial teachings, “never let a good crisis go to waste.”

There was chat about a Tom Dixon x Prolight collaboration called Code but by that stage, the dregs of my soup were getting cold and attention span waning.

Finally, his favourite design of all time? Doesn’t have one.

tom dixon

Above: the Puck collection. Below: the Press collection.

Below: Tom Dixon toying with his Spiral pendant.

tom dixon

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