Tom Dixon Takes Us On A Tour Of His London Design Festival Exhibit, OCTAGON

Tom DixonPhoto Credit: Tom Dixon

Different times call for different measures. And although Tom Dixon, OBE planned on taking his new exhibit on the road, right now he’s happy to be showcasing it at his Coal Office during the London Design Festival. The studio’s theme for this year’s festival is OCTAGON, which represents the multifaceted and constantly evolving nature of the British brand. He transformed his office into eight different architectural spaces, with each area will be defined by this year’s hero collections, including  a Pop-up bar, 2 Lounges, a Disco, a Perfumery Lab, a MASS Gallery, a Pattern Masterclass Exhibition and an S-chair ‘Museum.’ OCTAGON also includes a series of of digital and physical talks, workshops and events open to the public, with some events by-invitation only. Here, watch as Tom takes Haute Living and Haute Residence on a tour of OCTAGON.

INSIDE OCTAGON

Tom Dixon
Octagon at the Shanghai Design Festival

Photo Credit: Tom Dixon

1. PUCKERY
This pop-up bar displays the full PUCK range in a striking display. The new MILL salt and pepper grinders also form part of the display. The PUCK collection includes cocktail, wine, champagne, and shot glasses, as well as an ice bucket.

2. FAT CLUB
The FAT CLUB is an extremely tactile, soft and comfortable space where visitors are invited to relax, recline and slow down on the FAT furniture range. The FAT collection, one of our best-selling families, is upholstered in Scottish textiles house Bute Fabric’s ranges and luxury Danish house Sørensen’s leather. Illuminating the lounge is CODE, an innovative LED track system we created in partnership with Austrian architectural lighting specialists, Prolicht. The partnership with Prolicht elevates Tom Dixon’s position in the LED world and combines highly
technical skills with a decorative aesthetic. Previewing for the first time in London is Dixon’s collaboration with Danish architectural hardware company D-Line. The new FAT lever handle in a metallic blue PVD finish is installed on the door at the entrance to the FAT CLUB and DISCO.

3. DISCO
King’s Cross’s history as an area rich in music and nightlife in the mid-90’s combined with Tom’s experience in working and promoting nightclubs tie into the narrative of the DISCO. The DISCO features an extraordinary display of some of his latest innovations in LED lighting. Highly reflective and dramatic in size, BURST is the brand’s latest LED chandelier which includes 12 polycarbonate shades exploding from a central construction point. MELT surface lights and GLOBE pendants also feature in the visually impactful display and act as a backdrop to
Spiritland’s elaborate speakers. Playlists designed by Spiritland set the tone for the DISCO with BURST programmed and animated to the music. Enhancing the acoustics of the DISCO is the new carbon-negative CORK collection. CORK is a unique set of sculptural furniture with expressive minimalist attributes and superior functionality.

4. PERFUMERY
In the Perfumery Arch in the shop, the new FOG incense gift sets and ECLECTIC vessels are on display for a journey through Tom Dixon’s fragrance explorations. The brand first launched its fragrance range in 2012 to immediate success, and this year the collection has expanded to include an incense gift set and a new fragrance available in the SWIRL vessels.

Tom Dixon
Coal Office

Photo Credit: Tom Dixon

5. SPIRAL LOUNGE
The SPIRAL LOUNGE features a kinetic installation of Dixon’s new SPRING Silver pendants. SPRING launched last year in Milan at the Manzoni during Salone del Mobile and quickly became a hit with customers and design aficionados. For LDF, the new silver finish is on display in an installation representing the flexibility, functionality and playfulness of the product and experiments with movement, shadows, and light play.

6. S CHAIR MUSEUM
The Extraordinary Arch displays the evolution of the renowned S Chair, which is celebrating its 30-year anniversary. Resembling a museum, the arch showcases Tom’s early designs of the S Chair for Cappellini and different variations over the years; ranging from an S Chair upholstered in rubber, an S Chair upholstered in sheep skin, to a bull-rush woven S chair. The museum demonstrates the longevity of Tom Dixon’s design and
how it remains relevant and significant today.

7. ELEMENTARY MASS
ELEMENTARY is a gallery exhibition dedicated to Dixon’s new solid brass MASS collection. A family of super polished and extraordinary products designed and manufactured in the UK and made from one single extruded box section of brass. The MASS Console Table, Coat Stand and Light preview for the first time during LDF.

8. PATTERN MASTERCLASS
Here, Dixon presents an investigation into natural pattern formations versus man-made processes in the design industry. New collections PRIMAVERA marble table-tops and SWIRL furniture and accessories are on display. Since its launch last year, SWIRL has quickly become one of the brand’s most acclaimed accessory collections. The unique process involves recycling the powdered residue from the marble industry, mixed with pigment and resin to create blocks of material that can then be sawn, sliced and turned on a lathe.

A FEW KEY QUESTIONS WITH TOM:

WATCH THE REST OF OUR INTERVIEW BELOW!

Tom DixonPhoto Credit: Tom Dixon

Was doing a set installation always the plan or was this idea born of necessity?

We’ve done a series of tours. For me having come out of the music business aa bit, the way that you – particularly in America – a classic way of doing it is to go to all of the small radio stations with your album. This time in London last year, we had 35,000 people through the door. We’re just not going to see those kinds of numbers. The quantity of people isn’t always that important. The smaller, more personal events typically yield more results in terms of being able to concentrate your efforts on people that are really interested. I’m not despairing, I just think you’ve got to be more entrepreneurial.

Besides the obvious, how has the London Design Festival changed?

We had this really kind of amusing Zoom medal ceremony. Normally it would be a huge banquet with 200 people. Everyone [now] got delivered a hamper and once again you had to get on your laptop. It was amusing and interesting the reality is that there’s a limit to how many Zoom calls you can do. There’s a limit to particularly in our trade which is about physical space and physical objects. I’m yearning to get back out again. I spent my lockdown in a greenhouse making things so it was quite liberating. I think right now we have to super flexible and entrepreneurial just to survive… Cooperation is going to be much more important between brands, and small is going to become more beautiful in a way.

What ideas have been born at this time for you?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of space. This idea that you have to keep your distance from people. It could have been a total nightmare, but you can remember even eight months ago when people were complaining that they didn’t have enough space. There’s something quite interesting about the VIP nature of being a bit more alone…. We’re seeing a complete change in how people behave. That’s always interesting from a design perspective. I see a lot of cracks appearing, but in those cracks you can grow weeds.

 

WATCH: TOM TAKES HAUTE LIVING ON A TOUR OF OCTAGON

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