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Monday, June 11, 2012

Fifty years from now: Tom Dixon

A shoo-in for a place as an important designer fifty years from now, Tom Dixon (1959- ) was born in Sfax, Tunisia, to a French/Latvian mother and an English father, but moved with his family to Great Britain at the age of four. He attended Chelsea Art School for six-months, but a motorcycle accident in 1980 ended his studies and left him in the hospital for three months.

After dropping out of art school, he played guitar in a band for two years, until another motorcycle accident left him unable to play, but he remained involved in the London club and warehouse party scene for another couple of years, leaving him daylight hours to learn to weld on his damaged motorcycles.

Once he learned the skill, he began to experiment with decorative welded structures made of recycled materials and industrial scrap. His pieces evolved with no need for design sketches, and indeed he considered what he was doing "industry," rather than design. Soon his creations began to attract attention, and commissions and exhibitions followed.

Dixon gained acclaim when the Italian furniture manufacturer Cappellini began to produce his work. The S chair made his reputation. At first, it was made of woven rubber covered with rush, but in 1989, Cappellini introduced a felt-upolstered version, and the S chair reached iconic status and earned a place in New York's Museum of Modern Art.

In 2002 he and David Begg started Tom Dixon Ltd. Then in 2004 they formed a partnership with the venture capital company Proventus, forming Design Research, which today owns and manages both the Tom Dixon company and Artek, the Finnish furniture manufacturer established by Alvar Aalto in 1935. Dixon is creative director for Habitat, as well as Artek.

In 2000 Dixon was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for services to British design.

From and

S chairs

Rubber Band  chair

Fan chair

Bean sofa

Flash table

Link easy chair

Spot table

Jack Light

Fluoro floor light
Beat lighting
Etch lighting
Void light
Pipe light


  1. I thought the name looked familiar at the top of the blog and then I remembered seeing some of his pieces at MOMA that had caught my eye! What a nice array of pieces he's had his hands in!!

    1. For a self-taught designer, he's come up with some really amazing pieces.

  2. A favourite of ours is Dixon's 'Wingback' chair ... the images here may interest you from an upholstery point of view

    1. Fabulous images! And I agree that Dixon's wingback chair is beautiful. I had missed that post, so I'm glad you sent me the link.