Tom Dixon describes the fact that he became a designer as an accident – but not as a bad one. Born in 1959 in Tunisia’s second largest city Sfax, he spent his first four years in Africa before his family moved to the Northern English town Huddersfield. What a cultural shock!
At school, he found comfort in his art classes. Doing pottery, he discovered the alterable magic of design without really being aware of it. After a few years of experimenting with clay, he had the idea of converting simple materials into something valuable. And he is still doing that today.
After quitting his studies at the Chelsea College of Art and Design, he spent his weekends in Londons nightlife and welded objects during the day which he sold to his creative friends. “At first I didn’t even realize that I am a designer. And I am still struggling to recognize myself as one”, he says today.
Totally lacking a formal design education, he developed an internationally appreciated signature. As many of his colleagues, he appreciates a good story behind his products and interiors. He calls his approach instinctive rather than cerebral.
Tom Dixon belongs to the few self-taught designers in the scene. But that does not make him less successful. In the 80s, he designed the “S-Chair” for the experimental manufacturer Cappellini. From 1998 to 2008, he was Head of Design and Creative Director at Habitat. 2002, he founded his own studio. In 2007, the Design Research Studio (DRS) for Architecture and Interior Projects was founded. Among others, they planned London’s Bronte Restaurant and the Lokal Alto in Hong Kong.
Since 2001, Dixon carries the Order of the British Empire for his merits.