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Last week, Tom Dixon opened a new location in New York at 25 Greene Street. The 6,700-square-foot space, sprawling over two-floors, showcases the designer’s lighting, furniture, and home accessories, and offers a service center dedicated to trade. New for the brand, as well, are two collections: “The Blue, The Black and The Silver,” which features glossy black, sharp stainless, and electric blue accessories; and “Hot + Wet,” featuring a range of bathroom lights.
Over the weekend during New York Design week, Dixon debuted the Flash Factory pop-up, where visitors were invited to create a limited-edition Etch Light. “It’s a hands-on approach for our consumers to interact with our product,” said Dixon. On Saturday and Sunday, the designer gave talks about his inspirations, tying back to a range of references like punk music and animal skeletons.
Whitewall spoke with Dixon about the new store and collections, his very first piece, and becoming a designer by accident.
WHITEWALL: Tell us a bit about your new store on Greene Street, which opened on May 17. How does it differ from your locations in Hong Kong and London?
TOM DIXON: London is all brick and cavernous and, well, very London. It’s Victorian industrial bones are very visible, and it incorporates 120 people, a restaurant, and a small manufacturing unit. The Hong Kong hub is more “BIJOU!” and occupies three floors on a more intimate corner location. So, the two really do differ to the Greene Street space in terms of space and style. We really don’t want to do cookie cutter locations and try as much as possible to bring out the local character, which on Greene Street is a much more voluminous, airy space with the archetypical cast iron columns and skylights of the historic buildings—which allow us particularly to highlight our pendant lighting.
WW: Can you tell us a bit about your new collection “The Blue, The Black, and The Silver?”
TD: The Blue, The Black and The Silver all feature a rigorous application of a super glossy black, a sharp, precise stainless, and electric blue. We’ve been inspired by fetish rubber, space age silver, and pop art blue—a crisper, cleaner, and more futuristic palette for this year.
WW: And what about “Hot + Wet?”
TD: After years of experimenting, we’ve created an alternative to the characterless fixtures that adorn many a tiled wall. We’ve worked out a nice balance between decoration and functionality, and these unusually expressive surface lights excel in wet and dry environments. This new collection offers a richer, more interesting palette of finishes and are luminosity designed to elevate anything from daily ablutions to evenings by the pool.
WW: What types of materials do you like to work with most?
TD: Tom Dixon will always be associated with copper, brass, and glass regarding our lighting and chair sculptures, but we’ve really turned the corner regarding our textiles research—from having fun with screen printing and boucle knitting coming soon, and more glass, more ceramic, and more surprises.
WW: What’s an average day in the studio like?
TD: We adopt a true hands-on approach, and our Design Research Studio can be working on anything from developing a new idea and trialling materials to transforming a space. We’re lucky not to have an average day. There is a lot of traveling (to get things made and to explain what we are up to) all over the world.
WW: What was your very first design piece?
TD: It’s no secret I became a designer quite by accident. Ceramics provided my first encounter with the transformational nature of design—without my even realizing it. Somewhere in that couple of years of mucking around with clay, I got the idea that you can transform materials into something more precious. That’s still what I do!