I try to understand where the thing will be made, and I try to challenge the brief and make sure I am not repeating something that already exists. I very rarely think of the final shape of an object, or the surface before I start. I am always thinking of the material possibilities, the potential of the factory, and the structure of the object, which means that I am a vertebrate designer, rather than an invertebrate! I am inspired by just about everything: cooking and architecture, engineering and sci-fi, music and contemporary sculpture, British traditions, and travel.
Your new collection, Industry, includes the Void light in copper, brass, and stainless steel. What is so special about these warm metals?
We have been using a lot of copper, bronze, gunmetal, and gold colors and finishes recently, as a natural progression from the chrome, stainless steel and galvanized look that was popular a couple of years ago. Warm metals give a richer, softer, and more feminine look that works well in more sophisticated and less harsh environments.
What other projects are you working on?
We are extremely busy right here in London, preparing a new website, and getting ready to move our studio for the second time in a year because we have grown so fast. We will be opening our first shop and showroom right here next to our studio and expanding our works canteen – The Dock Kitchen -to become a proper 100 seat restaurant.
You are keen to hold onto the British identity of the Tom Dixon brand. What is “British-ness” to you?
British-ness is still a tough quality to describe. Somewhat more honest, a bit more engineered, slightly less conceptual, a touch more rugged than the other nationalities. Whatever it is, we think that there is a re-emergence of it, a new confidence and depth to it that is increasingly recognized world-wide. I think that the British design scene is well known all over the world as a center for ideas, but often these ideas are produced in other countries. I am interested in seeing if I can create a brand that is based on the culture which I am part of.
The most difficult part of Jennie's role as Merchandise Manager for YLighting is deciding exactly which pendant she loves the most for her mid-century Oakland condo. When not making design decisions she and her 3 year old son compose songs to sing to the family's new baby.