On Design: Tom Dixon

The Blow Torch According to the Venerated London Designer

“I first picked one up when I needed to repair a vintage motorcycle,” explains Tom Dixon of his virgin encounter with a blow torch, in the second installment of our On Design series that invites designers to ruminate on an item of particular significance to them. “That’s when I discovered I loved welding as much as I loved motorbikes.” The one-time nightclub impresario and self-taught fabricator’s first industrial design experiments were with pieces of discarded scrap metal that he found as a student, before London’s Victoria and Albert Museum purchased his S Chair for their permanent collection in 1992, with the Museum of Modern Art in New York following suit soon after. Dixon has worked with modern design pioneers Artek, and has fostered an eponymous brand renowned for creating metal light fixtures, which have become emblems of modern British design. “Design as a term is thrown about so casually,” says Dixon, “but in the end all designers have one common goal, which is trying to improve the way we live.”

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  • MORE IN THIS SERIES
    MORE IN THIS SERIES

    On Design: Konstantin Grcic

    The Desk Chair According to the Lauded Industrial Design Iconoclast

    Konstantin Grcic's take on the ‘Box’ chair launches a new series inviting designers to ruminate on an item of particular significance to them. Created in 1975 by Italian Enzo Mari for Castelli, the functional, desk-bound star of today’s first installment of On Design was devised to be self-assembled and easy to dismantle for storage. It was Grcic’s own model for a chair, Chair One for Magis, which launched his career, becoming a design classic that is today held in the permanent collections of New York’s MoMA and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. Originally trained as a cabinet maker, Grcic made the bold step into industrial design before studying at the Royal College of Art, London. “As a craftsman I became so fascinated by machinery and this idea of working through the processes and limitations of design,” explains Munich-based Grcic, who remodelled the interior of an apartment in Le Corbusier’s Cité Radieuse earlier this year and has collaborated with brands including Flos, Magis and Iittala. “The machine really forces you to work and think as a designer.”
    (Read More)
  • MOST SHARED IN TRAVEL
    MOST SHARED IN TRAVEL

    GoldenEye: Island Magic

    Chris Blackwell Teams Up With Radio Nova To Relaunch His Exclusive Resort

    Today we premiere a lyrical portrait of Chris Blackwell’s Jamaican getaway, GoldenEye, and the relaunch party that the Island Records founder recently hosted to celebrate the resort's new look. Music legend “Toots” Hibbert (of Toots and the Maytals, whose "Funky Kingston" soundtracks our film) rubbed shoulders with fellow guests including Jimmy Buffett, Grace Jones and Kevin McDonald, who is currently directing a documentary about reggae legend Bob Marley; all danced the day away to deejays from Paris-based station Radio Nova. Over the past three years, the retreat in Oracabessa Bay has seen the addition of 17 new cottages, a spa and the beachside Bar Bizot, named after Blackwell's friend Jean-François Bizot, the late founder of Radio Nova. While today it may be an A-list destination frequented by Jay-Z and Beyoncé, Bono and Kate Moss, GoldenEye had the humblest of beginnings as a 15-acre donkey racetrack. The transformation began in 1946, courtesy of James Bond author Ian Fleming, who purchased the land to build his dream house. After taking ownership in 1976, Blackwell went about converting it into an ultra-exclusive mecca. NOWNESS caught up with the music mogul over one of his famed frozen GoldenEye cocktails.

    Describe a day in your life on the island.
    Nowadays I wake up early and the first thing I do is go for a swim in the lagoon, and then email and make phone calls for an hour or so before getting dressed and having breakfast. Business meetings will generally take me up to lunchtime. After lunch I try to have a nap for a couple of hours and then back to more emails and phone calls. If the waves are high I like to go jet skiing—it’s an incredible workout when the sea is rough. After that I hang out and have dinner.

    Tell us something most people don't know about Jamaica.
    They have the three fastest women runners in the world over 100 meters and three of the four fastest men—pretty amazing for an island with less than three million people.

    What has been your proudest achievement so far?
    Founding Island Records over 50 years ago and, although I no longer have anything to do with it, seeing it be so successful today.

    Apart from Jamaica, where else in the world do you like to spend time?
    London, Paris and New York. I love to travel so there are many other places.

    Which artist do you wish you had signed?
    Leonard Cohen.

    What philosophy do you live by?
    Do your best, keep your word.

    Tour GoldenEye's tropical grounds here.

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