Self-taught British designer Tom Dixon believes that rules are made to be broken. Dixon began his creative life as a professional musician, playing bass in a disco band in the 80s. Then, he learned oxy-acetylene welding in a car body repair shop in South London and—after a series of mutations originating from a doodle of a chicken—designed the iconic “S Chair,” introduced by Cappellini in 1989. “If there are rules to design, I don’t know what they are,” he says, “I just have ideas and I want to see what happens if I put them out there.”
This has clearly worked in Dixon’s favor. Since launching design brand Tom Dixon in 2002, its presence has grown to over 60 countries. With designs inspired by Britain’s heritage, his collection of contemporary pendants, floor and table lights, including the bestselling Copper Shade and Mirror Ball, have become iconic fixtures in homes all over the world.
LX: What’s next for you?
TD: We've spent the last ten years expanding wherever we could, toward whomever approached us. We are in 65 countries now, so this year is going to be focused on the places that like our products the most. We’ve laid the infrastructure in the United States and I think you get out of the U.S. what you put in. It's just like in rock and roll: If you don’t play the radio stations, if you don’t play the small towns, you’re never going to succeed.
There’s such a vibrant design community in the United States that's interested in what's going on globally. What’s interesting about the modern world [is that] you don’t need to attract large amounts of people globally to be a successful designer. You can be quite focused and do specific work and people will come to you if they’re attracted to it.