Evolution of Tom Dixon’s iconic Wingback Collection

Evolution of Tom Dixon’s iconic Wingback Collection


I have a definite preference for the construction of things – rather than the final shape.

I love the bones of an object. The surface or the skin is never an afterthought but always a consequence of the structure.” …….. Tom Dixon.


Inspired by two seating archetypes: the 17th century Wingback and its smaller sibling the 18th century Balloon Back, Tom Dixon’s iconic Wingback is a re-mastered British classic

Tom Dixon has refined and re-imagined these historic chairs for 21st century contemporary interiors.

With a debonair quality, this refined hybrid lounge chair has been created for the finest of banquets or as a stand alone statement by the fireplace in your living room.

Complete with a luxurious semi-aniline leather upholstery, the classic cabriole legs are reinterpreted with a straight line design, with two statement angular back legs which nod to the silhouettes of Mid Century Modern furniture design.

The result is an elegant domestic sculpture, fit for practical use around the fireplaces of members clubs, the hotel lobby or the at home in the living room or parlour.

Thanks to its expressive sweeping curves, Tom Dixon’s statuesque Wingback chair is often specified by decorators and architects in the centre of spaces as a sculptural intervention rather than a mere piece of seating.


The Wingback family now includes chairs, a dining chairs, sofas and ottomans with all models featuring ergonomics that have been adjusted to ensure comfort, while the frame has been reworked for industrial production.

Clean lines unite the pieces in the series, as does a play between firmness and softness.



Timeline Evolution of the Wingback Collection by Tom Dixon



The Wingback made its official debut at Shoreditch House in 2007 after Nick Jones of Soho House commissioned Tom, to design his Shoreditch House Members  Club, London.

Tom Dixon’s Design Research Studio sketched full size silhouettes on oversized bits of wallpaper and cobbled up cardboard marquettes with glue guns before having them prototyped in the workshops of English master upholsterers George Smith.

The exaggerated proportions of the wing and the extravagant scale of the chair allow the sitter to be enthroned against a grand backdrop or completely hidden from view.




Launched in September 2008, Tom Dixon by George Smith is a contemporary British upholstery brand that unites quality traditional manufacturing techniques and contemporary design.

The collaboration challenged the method of manufacturing contemporary shapes, pushing the boundaries, to develop an innovative product of the finest quality.

Resolutely British; with all products made in the George Smith factory in Newcastle and designed by Tom Dixon, the partnership underlines the capabilities of British manufacturing and design.

The construction of each piece uses many materials from renewable sources; with frames made of wood from sustainable forests, and the main body fillings upholstered with natural ingredients including natural cotton, feather, and boar bristle.

The collection celebrates the traditions of British upholstered furniture with each piece hand made by George Smith using long established techniques practiced for over 250 years.

Skilled craftsmen, including generations of the same family, employ the use of traditional skills such as joinery, hand sewing and upholstery.





In 2009 Tom began full production of the Wingback Chair and added the 2 seater Wingback Sofa and Ottoman to the Tom Dixon range.

The Wingback ottoman is a fully upholstered footstool, inspired by the traditional 18th Century British Gentleman’s Chair.

Designed to be used with the Wingback chair to add a ludicrous level of comfort but expressive enough to be a stand alone occasional.





After a number of years production under his belt, Tom had another look at the Wingback and decided it was time to re-engineer it based on client feedback and production improvement opportunities.

Change / Improvements made to the Wingback chair included–

  • The Wingback now armchair boasts a slinkier silhouette and a slightly taller back—offering an inviting shape with a bold presence.
  • The frame is now made from metal with robust cantilevering.
  • The shell is created in hard polyurethane foam with fibre glass reinforcement, with added lumbar support to increase the ergonomic comfort.
  • Pocket springs are used in the seating cushions.
  • Fully upholstered with a brass logo hammered to the underneath of every piece.
  • The base consists of legs made of solid oak that are finished in black or copper—and you can choose from several different upholstery fabrics.
  • All are available in a wide range of Kvadrat fabrics with chair legs in solid natural or black oak and copper-plated steel.


During the London Design Festival 2015 Tom also introduced the new engineered ‘ Wingback Sofa ’ which featured the following changes  –

  • Now comes in both 2 seater and 3 seater configurations.
  • The new Wingback Sofa was given a radically re-engineered shape that expresses a bolder shape, with more robust cantilevering.
  • The shell is formed from a polyurethane foam with additional lumbar supports to ensure comfort, and is upholstered in a number of kvadrat fabrics.
  • The base is outfitted with four legs, available in either oak wood or copper plated steel.


At the same time Tom launched a small, slimmer and lighter dining chair




In 2016, Tom released a ” limited edition ” extra furry cover in brownish-black Icelandic long-haired sheepskin to transform the Wingback chair from its usual appearance into a super-texture Tom Dixon seating sculpture

Tom also enhanced the fabric offerings for the Wingback collection by introducing exclusive fabrics by Raf Simons as well as Mohair Velvets (14 Colours) and Wool Boucles (27 Colours)

He also expanded the Wingback ottomans with a Long Ottoman to suit the Wingback Sofas.




During 2017 the ” Micro Wingback Chair and Sofa ” were launched, as the latest in Tom Dixon’s bespoke upholstery collection.

Micro Wingback is the much-loved Wingback re-scaled smaller for the home and confined spaces.


Wingback Micro’s extravagant and fully upholstered form was tweaked to give an even more rakish silhouette, the ergonomics adjusted for more comfort and the frame has been re-tooled for industrial production.


Re-scaled for the home and our increasingly confined spaces – the result is an elegant functional sculpture fit for any environment.






Some Tom Dixon Wingback Projects



Project : Le Drug Store, Paris

by Tom Dixon DRS

Year 2017

Project : Alto Restaurant, Hong Kong

by Tom Dixon DRS


Project  :  InterChange, London

by Tom Dixon DRS




Project : Markel International, London

by  Edge Architects




Project : Bronte Restaurant, London

by Tom Dixon DRS




Project : Multiplex @ Salone Milan

by Tom Dixon Studio




Project : Himitsu’s Cocktail Bar, Hong Kong

by Tom Dixon DRS 




Project :  Westpac  / BT  Sydney

by Geyer Design




Project :  Paddington House

by Greg Natale





About Tom Dixon

Tom Dixon, OBE (born 21 May 1959 in Sfax, Tunisia) is a self-taught British designer.

Part French, part Latvian, but the lion’s share British, has lived in West London since the age of six.

At age 20, he enrolled in the Chelsea College of Art and Design (now known as Chelsea College of Arts)

A motorbike accident brought his formal design education to an abrupt end – he still has the scars to prove it, including a gold tooth.

Apart from brief forays into animation – and the music business – he has focused on design for the last 33 years

He is currently the Creative Director of the brand ‘Tom Dixon’ specialising in Lighting, Furniture and Accessories.

His works have been acquired by museums across the globe, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, Museum of Modern Art New York and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

Tom rose to prominence in the mid 1980s as “the talented untrained designer with a line in welded salvage furniture”.

He set up ‘Space’ as a creative think-tank and shop front for himself and other young designers.

By the late 1980s, he was working for the Italian giant Cappellini for whom he designed the Iconic ‘S’ chair.

In the 1990s, he became a household name with ‘Jack’, his polyethylene “sitting, stacking, lighting thing” designed for his own company ‘Eurolounge’.

In 1993 he participated in the ″greatest exhibition of British furniture design of the 20th century″, organized by Helmut Diez in Bremerhaven, Germany.

In 1998 Tom was appointed head of design by Habitat and later became Creative Director until 2008. He was the public face of a collective team responsible for rejuvenating the Habitat brand.

In 2002 Dixon established his own brand under the name ‘Tom Dixon’. The company is based in Portobello, London.

In 2004 Proventus, the Swedish-based private investment company, teamed up with Tom Dixon to establish Design Research, a design and product development holding company.

The Tom Dixon brand launches new collections of lighting and furniture bi-annually at the Milan international furniture fair and at London Design Festival.

In 2012 the company launched its first accessories range at Maison et Objet, Paris. The company’s products are sold internationally in 65 countries.

In 2007 Dixon launched Design Research Studio, an interior and architectural design studio.

High-profile projects include Restaurant at The Royal Academy in London , Jamie Oliver’s London restaurant, Barbecoa as well as Shoreditch House.

In 2014 Design Research Studio completed the Mondrian Hotel project – redesigning the iconic Thames-side Sea Containers House in collaboration with US hotel giant Morgans Hotel Group

Tom holds Honorary Doctorates from Birmingham City University (2004) and University of the Arts London (2007).

He was appointed an OBE for services to British Design in 2001


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