Receive our daily digest of inspiration, escapism and design stories from around the world direct to your inbox
Thank you for signing up to Wallpaper. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.
In the 20 years since launching his studio, Tom Dixon hasn’t stopped experimenting, and the latest exhibition, coinciding with London Design Festival 2022, is a testament to his non-stop enthusiasm for design experimentation. The British designer (who also happens to be a maker, entrepreneur and more) celebrated his 20 years in business with an exhibition at Coal Office, the design studio, shop and restaurant he debuted in 2018.
‘A 20th anniversary provides a moment to review, adapt, upgrade and rethink some of the designs that we have produced but also to introduce some of the latest thinking in materiality, longevity and luminosity for the near future,’ comments Dixon, introducing the show.
Aptly named ‘Twenty’, the display presents the studio’s recent and current areas of experimentation, ranging from material research to formal compositions and products. These span from the lightweight aluminium chair that Dixon created in collaboration with Hydro, and has expanded into a collection that includes ceiling lamps, to the ‘Underwater Project’, and the ‘Flamecut’ chair, an archive piece made of heavyweight, thick steel plate, almost impossible to lift and promising a 1,000 year warranty.
The ‘Biorock’ chair, the designer explains, ‘is an experiment in underwater factory production’, essentially a collaboration with nature. The chair features a thin metal frame, charged with a small amount of electricity, allowing for a natural concrete to form on top of the structure over two years under the sea. Conceived by 1970s scientist Wolf Hilbertz, the biorock concept was part of the experimental utopia of building cities under the sea, but, notes Dixon, ‘has a great potential in coral regeneration and stopping beach erosions’.
More pieces on display include the ‘Dichroic’ chandeliers, a new interpretation of Dixon’s ‘Melt’ lamps, and the ‘S-Chair’ (among his most iconic designs and one, he notes, ‘that has been following me around for years’), this time reintroduced in latex, its original material. ‘It’s a natural material, a forest plastic,’ he explains. For this version, he partnered with Dead Lotus Couture to achieve an inflatable version of the chair. ‘It’s a bit kinky,’ he concedes, ‘but it enhances the curves of the chair.’
The exhibition also includes some work-in-progress prototypes, such as an eel grass version of the ‘Bird’ chaise, and perfume towers made with mycelium from the Magic Mushroom Company. ‘It’s about trying new stuff, and sometimes things don't work,’ concludes Dixon, ‘but it’s good to show the mistakes as well.’
Tom Dixon ‘TWENTY’ is on until 25 September 2022
Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.
Brooklyn furniture studio Stillmade unveils its first collaborative design series
Stillmade brings to life the designs of four New Yorkers – Pat Kim, Danny Kaplan, Michele Quan and Mignogna Studio
By Pei-Ru Keh Published
Toyota and Jun Takahashi create a limited edition Aygo X
Toyota Aygo X Undercover edition is a city car spliced with a high-end streetwear brand
By Jonathan Bell Published
Daniel Arsham debuts new work in Paris and New York
Daniel Arsham and Perrotin mark 20 years of collaboration with New York and Paris exhibitions
By Hannah Silver Published
Alessi Occasional Objects: Virgil Abloh’s take on cutlery
Best Cross Pollination: Alessi's cutlery by the late designer Virgil Abloh, in collaboration with his London studio Alaska Alaska, is awarded at the Wallpaper* Design Awards 2023
By Rosa Bertoli Published
Design Miami 2022: highlights from the fair and around town
Design Miami 2022 (30 November – 4 December) aims at ‘rebooting the roots of our relationship with nature and collective structures, ecospheres, and urban contexts’
By Sujata Burman Last updated
Salon Art + Design 2022: design highlights not to miss
Wallpaper* highlights from Salon Art + Design 2022, New York
By Tilly Macalister-Smith Last updated
Design Week Lagos 2022 celebrates creativity and innovation in West Africa and beyond
Curated by founder Titi Ogufere, Design Week Lagos 2022 is based on a theme of ‘Beyond The Box’
By Ugonna-Ora Owoh Last updated
Designart Tokyo transforms the city into a museum of creativity
Designart Tokyo presents global design highlights through a series of exhibitions involving global creative talent and traditional Japanese craft
By Danielle Demetriou Last updated
‘R for Repair’ at London Design Festival displays broken objects, re-formed
In the second half of a two-part exhibition and as part of London Design Festival 2022, ‘R for Repair’ at the V&A displays broken objects, re-formed
By Martha Elliott Last updated
‘Finding quality through the act of making’: Pearson Lloyd celebrates 25 years of design
Pearson Lloyd’s show ‘Change Making’ reflects on past designs from its archives, showcasing the influences on and evolution of the studio, from furniture design to the NHS
By Martha Elliott Last updated
Porro unveils new London showroom at Coal Office
London Design Festival 2022: industrial architecture meets pure geometries in the new Porro showroom, taking over a space within Tom Dixon’s Coal Office to showcase the brand’s systems and furniture
By Rosa Bertoli Last updated