Music heavily influenced this British self made designer, who got his early inspiration for design from welding and metalwork. Tom Dixon aims to establish a British furniture firm that is solid and dependable, and improves with time.
Speaking at the 6th installation of the "Design Conversation" organised by the SFIC, Dixon spoke to a full house of more than 400 designers, trade agencies, media, furniture professionals and students from various design institutions. Dixon talked at length on the topic of "Global Industry" and explored the different processes involved in manufacturing his self-named lighting and furniture items, and how he applies different types of industry in his products.
Dixon's first big role came about when he was the head of design at Habitat, part of the Ikea empire. He shared with the audience how that opened up his horizons on a number of different aspects such as marketing, sales, shipping, global sourcing and logistics. He likened it to a "university crash course." His experience garnered at Habitat encouraged him to push forward with the development of his own label.
Dixon shared extensively on how the supply chain of the furniture industry always proved a conundrum. He also expounded on the "nonsensical nature of branding in the furniture business," and how all these influences inspired him to start up his own company. Dixon wanted to establish a British presence within the furniture industry, which has traditionally been the domain of Italian firms.
Dixon built his brand on the key principles of simplicity, use of technology, an anti-design approach and an element of mystery. He also went into great details on how one of his early influences was the sphere, which led to his Mirror Ball light. He also shared how he draws inspiration from the universe around him, quite literally in the case of his "Void Light" design which was inspired by how UFO's are deemed to look.
The self proclaimed "Jack-of-All-Trades" encouraged the audience of students and budding designers, to always have a clear point of view. A poignant insight he parted with was how he enjoys being naive about a number of aspects of business and design, as that allows him to take a fresh look and approach to challenges that abound.
After the light-hearted sharing session coupled with injection of British humour by Dixon, a panel discussion involving Mr Tom Dixon, Mr Lim Choon Hong, Founder & CEO of XTRA Designs Pte Ltd, Mr Felix Low, Director of Urban Foundry Pte Ltd and moderated by Ms Wendy Chua, Designer of outofstock was held.
"We are extremely honoured to have Tom Dixon speak at our 'Design Conversation' series," said Simon Ong, Chairman for Design Development SFIC. "His insights and views on the global industry were particularly important for us in Singapore as the export market is critical to the success of our industry here."