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When Tom Met Tom
It’s not often that we get to leave the office to visit our friends in London, so it was with great pleasure that two members of the Nest team were able to attend the launch of the new Club collection at Tom Dixon last week.
Let me set the scene a little: Tom Dixon are based at Portobello dock in Ladbroke Grove, a former Victorian barge refuse transfer depot. The site straddles the Grand Union canal and was, historically, a very important part of London’s infrastructure. The building was later purchased by non-other than Richard Branson and was eventually converted to a recording studio for his Virgin Records label. The area now occupied by the Tom Dixon shop was the recording studio and played host to the likes of The Spice Girls and Mariah Carey in its day! Today, quirky British designer Tom Dixon has set up shop in the space – an Aladdin’s cave packed full of goodies that shine in varying degrees of metallic perfection.
After a glass or two of champagne Tom pops his head in and gives us a splendid talk of the latest happenings at Tom Dixon HQ. There is talk of a new era of mass production, moving away from the more craft-based products Tom Dixon has built his name in. There is the underwater furniture factory in the Bahamas – ethically challenging but progressive all the same. Then there’s the Milan survival pack he designed in conjunction with Adidas – all you need to survive a week at the Milan Design Fair – and eventually his venture into perfumery. So it would seem there is plenty going on in Tom’s world.
After an eloquent presentation, we get to explore the new collection. Shiny, metal and simple; three design principles that we have come to know Tom Dixon for over the years are represented in the new range. The lights hang in front of us in a row like gleaming Christmas decorations, so elegant and simple they would not look out of place in an Art Deco building, yet versatile enough to work just as well in a contemporary setting. Tom Dixon always seems to anticipate a small opening in the market and prizes it open for others to follow.
In addition to the Plane lights and chandelier we were very excited to see the Y chair and Trace table. The Y chair marks a new direction for Tom, away from designer-maker and into mass manufacturing production – in his own words they are now, officially, a ‘proper manufacturer’!
The Y chair is of particular interest as Tom Dixon has not yet made a dining chair for mass production. It’s certainly striking, and despite what you may think, surprisingly comfortable. I only say this as a good looking chair is one thing, but comfort is everything! Made from glass reinforced nylon the chair should hold up well in high use areas such as restaurants. I urge you to spec the black version, it looks like Batman’s chair…
The Trace table is also a winner from the new collection – it has a very graphic, very clean form made using UV bonded and ceramic printed glass sheets. The Tom Dixon website says this creates an ‘ethereal moiré pattern’ – I’ll take their word for it. I just know I like it.
As well as the new pieces, there are also some reworked versions of best sellers on display in the Dock. The Beat light collection was launched last year in shimmering brass, joining the matt black and glossy white finishes and is now also available in grey with silver internals – so if the golden glow was stopping you specifying the fitting, you can now consider it.
One of our favourites, the Etch shade, is also now available in black. The pendant hanging system allows you to hang more than one fitting from a single ceiling mounted ‘rose’ which also incorporates and housed the electrical connections – great for creating groups of lighting in halls, receptions and stairwells.
Drawing my eye to the back of the room is a rather beautiful collection of Cell wall lights installed together across the wall like a space-age version of the Blockbuster board. Using the lights in this way works so well, I’m not usually a ‘gold’ fan but the light quality and visual effect draws me in like a moth to a neon sign.
But alas the time came to leave and, like Cinderella, I must not miss my carriage or I will be sleeping on a bench in St Pancras station!
I hope this has given you some food for thought, made you smile, made you want to visit Tom Dixon or made you want to contact me to place an order… please select the appropriate.
Thanks for reading!