Designer: Tom Dixon and FRONT
I feel like I should really like Tom Dixon’s work. It has all the shapes I like. He uses metallics and angles. Often together! Yes – good stuff. So why doesn’t it sing to me in the way it seems to for others? Bit too Marcel Wanders-y for me maybe, too “out there”? I figured it out a bit yesterday, while having a browse through the glory of the ‘designjunction’ Milan aftermath. I found a really beautiful, swelling pendant that gives the impression of just-blown glass.
Brief bit of info on the pendants themselves; they are vacuum formed polycarbonate with copper, gold and chrome particles applied to their interior. So that’s a whole new thing. They also do the hide and seek game – when you turn the light off, the lack of light behind this new material changes the level of transparency as you can see in the photo above. Charming by day, mysterious and transcendental by night.
As far as my personal er, non-connection with most of Tom Dixon’s designs, my new found opinion is that they work best in commercial spaces. And I’m just not in the habit of thinking in terms of public spaces like theatres and retail parks yet. I love these pendants, I love them in herds, shoals and parliaments (isn’t that owls? A parliament of owls? Hah) Their liveliness feeds off each other in a really striking way.
But they look a bit lost on their own, or in threes. And that how I usually think of products. Big commercial, industrial stuff is all really popular now for urban home interiors and I am not adverse to that at all (heck I too have a photographers floor lamp in the corner of my living) so why don’t I enjoy the image I get of a couple of Dixon’s of lighting pendants or bits and bobs scattered around the home?
I think it’s because the utilitarian or commercial use items that we now have in our homes are from designs created decades ago. Because Dixon’s forms are all so new, we’re just not used to his particular way of mixing up his personal style, chosen material or colour, and the context.
For now, in our minds, it is hard to accept these bizarre objects into our cosy homes that we’ve been filing with mainly ceramics, wood and textiles for thousands of years.
Give it a decade or two though and I think things like these strange creations will be lighting up our dining tables. Just like that industrial lamp you have over yours now. Though, in fairness, weren’t hover cars meant to be a staple already!? C’mon Honda… power of dreams and all that?
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