After a whirlwind tour of Asia, Tom Dixon landed in Sydney ready to “entertain invited colleagues of dedece” and to particpate in the now legendary, informal yet informative “dedece Q & A” dinner format
This 2 week tour to Singapore, Sydney, Auckland and finally onto to Tokyo was Tom’s first visit back to dedece for 5 years. It was great to welcome Tom back.
On the first night of his arrival, dedece hosted a fantastic dinner for those specially invited Sydney and Melbourne designers and architects, in the relaxed and intimate environment within the dedece Sydney showroom.
Cameron Bruhn of Architectual Media was the MC of the evening and he managed to extrapolate from Tom some of his philosophies on design and adding to his life-stories which made for a very entertaining evening.
Tom gave us insights into the evolution of his designs which made the audience realise that he comes from a humble level of design.
With a continuation and refinement of his designer’s eye and with his time spent with Habitat all of which over time helped to refine his skills, to help make him not just the successful product designer that he is today, but also one of the few designers who now run their business which covers all areas of design, manufacture, distribution through to marketing etc.
When you lend your name to a design company selling lighting and furniture in more than 60 countries you have responsibilities .. which Tom certainly doesn’t take lightly
Certainly with the explosion of the Tom Dixon brand he made us realise he now has even greater control over managing the complete process of conceptualisation to manufacture.
We began the evening with an unexpected presentation of Tom’s earlier musical adventure with a London band called Funkapolitan – in which Tom played the bass guitar.
Far from having a pre-destination to be a designer, Tom wanted to be a musician. He was a professional musician from the age of 21 to 23.
Tom was slightly embarrassed that we had dug this old relic up – but it got the evening off to a relaxed and joyful atmosphere.
When he was 20 years old, he organised events on the ‘fabulous’ English party scene before creating his first objects at the age of 25, becoming one of the most talked-about avant-garde designers.
He recorded an album with the band “Funkapolitan” in Jimmy Hendrix’s studio in New York.
It was in 1982 when hip-hop and rap just started. They made it to No. 39 in the UK chart and had a few minutes on Top of the Pops.
Amongst Funkapolitan’s band highlights was that they supported “The Clash” at a gig in New York, and played at Glastonbury Music Festival in 1982
During the same period he started to run rap clubs in the London club scene. Unfortunately a motorbike accident stopped him from playing bass guitar, which forced him to leave the band.
Instead he spent more time working for various nightclubs doing promotional activities. When Tom ran a disco in Berkeley Square they put on many different events, including live welding on stage. This got him back into the craft and design and rest is history – as they say !!
This period of Tom’s life helped informed a lot of his later thinking about design in general. Being ‘untaught’ was something that was made visible to me through music. In London, everyone seemed to be in a band and created their own music, wrote their own songs and made their own posters for their gigs. They were self-propelled, with no certificates and no parental approval. I transferred quite a lot of that home-made creativity into what I was doing with objects.
The idea that you could make something yourself without being a professional, you could get out there and create your own aesthetic, and potentially sell it, came from there.
The tour was to coincide with the release of a selection of products including the impressionable Etch Web in stainless steel, Fin and Lustre Lights.
Another welcome addition to the collection is the Drum Stool adding to the growing furniture presence within his collection.
The following day Tom was in great form to present two lecture series to approximately 180 people in total.
Both lectures lasted for one hour with a Q and A session to follow.
In fine form Tom once again delighted the crowd with his antidotes to design and life in general.
These lectures can be listened to via….. the dedeceblog click here
We look forward to Milan this year where once again he will take over the Museum of Science and Technology to present MOST a collaborative effort to showcase young designers alongside Tom’s latest additions to his range.