Internationally renowned and acclaimed designer Tom Dixonwill be the keynote speaker for the prize-giving ceremony of our XYMARA™ Design Award, to be held on September 18, 2008, the first day of this year’s 100% Design event.
We’re thrilled to have him, and to present an interview with him here as an amuse-bouche before the big event!
You work a lot with copper, gold and silver. Where do you get your design inspiration from?
I have used metals since I started making things, and I like colors that are intrinsic to the material, so I like copper plumbing and lead roofing and aluminum racing cars – I also like the symbolic nature of gold, silver and bronze in medals and prizes.
Your work exhibits a lot of lamps, tables and chairs. How do you choose the colors you work with? Which color most inspires you right now?
My favorite color at the moment is fluorescent orange, which you see in safety applications, like ambulances and crowd control barriers, as it is a functional color.
You are known to work with industrial materials and turned them into gold; does the project choose the material, or do you choose the material first? How do you choose your materials?
I like to understand a material and its properties and the way that you work in it before I start designing. I like visiting factories and learning from technicians and craftsmen and often working in the material myself, before deciding what to make.
I see a lot of effect surfaces, how do you choose the visual surface effects you use? Where do you find the idea for these effects to begin with? Which new visual effect will be seen a lot more in future?
I tend to look for surfaces and finishes in industrial and non-domestic applications and then domesticate them.
I understand that "the Italians" have made a big impact on you: Cappellini put you on the global stage. Where do you feel most at home? England, or Italy? Do you see a difference between local and global trends in design? How can you differentiate Italian and British design?
I hardly work any more in Italy, but I really appreciate their attitude and passion for design and industry. This hardly happens in the U.K., at least not in the furniture business, where it is difficult to get manufacturers to work with you. British designers however, seem to be lucky in having a great amount of choice and variety in design education and a more global experience.
Do you try to actively avoid trends, or do you embrace the influences around you?
I like to get my influence from other fields. I am very interested in trends, but more in music, architecture, fashion and food trends rather than design trends.
What is your design philosophy?
Try not to repeat what already exists
What is your dream future project?
Design a city? A nature reserve? A motorcycle? A hospital? A house for myself? A new type of animal?
Anything unexpected …