One of the best things to evolve over the past months has been the opportunity to meet, greet and discover all manners of people and design through the, now ubiquitous, Zoom event. One of the best of these occasions was lately presented by Living Edge and provided insight into the renowned British designer Tom Dixon at his studio, The Coal Office.
The hour-long event was divided into two parts: a whirlwind tour of the astounding creative hub that is The Coal Office and exploration of Tom Dixon’s outstanding range of products, followed by a Q & A with Aidan Mawhinney, CEO of Living Edge. Dixon’s wry humour and down to earth personality made the occasion such an enjoyable one as he walked us through the artistic labyrinth of The Coal Office and talked about his latest designs.
Located in Kings Cross, London with a backdrop of the Coal Drops Yard, The Coal Office is home to the multi-disciplinary practice that Dixon has established since he rose to prominence in the mid-1980s. With the most impressive range of products, this latest home for the designer is the perfect place to showcase the different streams of design as the working studio also incorporates a Lighting and a Furniture shop, a Perfumery, Haberdashery, Factory, Trade Counter and Office along with a Restaurant.
The breadth of Dixon’s work came into focus during the tour as he walked us through the studio’s 1625-square-metre flooplate. He talked of products from small to large, furniture and home accessories, lighting and candles and explained the designs and processes. First there were home products such as Puck, a new range of hand-made drinking glasses and Mill stainless steel pepper and salt grinders; next the Fat collection and the new Fat chaise. Dixon talked about his collaboration with bute, a Scottish fabric company, and then moved to the lighting space where we discovered Spring, a new pendant light that can alter shape; and, of course, the Melt range of lighting. Interestingly the Mega Melt chandelier was initiated for Australia, designed for the Sydney Opera House.
Dixon has adapted an interior space within The Coal Studio to include a discotheque and here he presented a range of cork furniture that helps absorb sound, aptly named Cork. The designer spent time talking about lighting design and in particular the incorporation of LED into his products and the use of LED circular circuit boards as sculpture in a range of track lighting.
We visited the Perfumery Lab and discovered the latest candles and incense holders in brass that have been plated with chrome and copper and saw a range of vases, Swirl, made from recycled powdered marble resin. Dixon also talked about the iconic S Chair, its evolution and iterations, and then it was on to the very latest design, Mass, a simple table made from brass extrusion rather like a plank. Perhaps this product encapsulates the Tom Dixon philosophy of ‘simple with a twist’ as the material and form can be applied to a lamp, a console, table or even a coat rack!
After the tour the questions asked by Mawhinney and facilitated by Michelle Lai, Tom Dixon Sales Manager for the Asia Pacific region, gave us the opportunity to understand the designer a little more as he talked of how and where his products can be utilised, those who had passed through his studio to then establish their own creative endeavours and the restaurant that plays a vital role in road testing new design.
All in all this was an event that offered insight and access to one of the world’s best and most in demand designers who is at the peak of his career. It’s wonderful that now we are only a click away from access to the bright stars of designer, thank you Living Edge, and may there be more opportunities to explore and learn like this.
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