England's Designing Bad Boy: Tom Dixon

Inside Man

As an art school drop out, motorcycle rider, bass player (in his 20s) and warehouse party thrower, Tom Dixon's reputation often precedes him. His ambitious career as a designer arose purely as a way to fill time after a motorcycle accident. A self-taught welder and design maker, Tom describes himself as a "maverick whose only qualification is a one-day course in plastic bumper repair." Still, Tom's designs have us and the rest of the design community fooled.Tom credits his lack of formal training for giving him the ability to work with no constraints and develop his own clear aesthetic. After success with the S and Python Chairs (introduced by the Italian company Cappellini), he became the head of design at Habitat. Now as creative director for Artek and Tom Dixon, he has undoubtedly become one of England's most influential designers.

Here are some of Tom's designs from the past and the present:

TOP ROW (FROM LEFT TO RIGHT):
1 - The bad boy himself, Tom Dixon.
2 - The S-Chair that launched Tom's career was designed for Cappellini in 1991.
3 - The Pylon Chair, made of iron wire, was designed for Cappellini in 1992.
4 - The Void Lights, launched this year, are available in copper, brass and stainless steel as a nod to the Olympic metals.
5 - The Slab Collection of tables, chairs and stools was introduced in 2008 and is made from solid lacquered oak (seen here with lamps from the Beat Collection).

BOTTOM ROW (FROM LEFT TO RIGHT):
1 - The recently launched Pressed Glass Bead Pendants will be available in July.
2 - The stackable Peg Chairs are available in black, white and fluoro (aka orange).
3 - The Punch Lights, inspired by motorcycle fins, were introduced in 2007.
4 - The Fresh Fat Chair and Bowl, 2004, are made from extruded plastic shaped by hand.
5 - The Felt Shades, 2006, are made using a technique called fabric-forming.

(Images: 1 - Hainsley Brown / D*Hub; Sources: DWR and the Design Museum)

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