Tom Dixon combined both commercial design as well as his creativity throughout his career as head designer at Artek, formerly Habitat retail chain and as a self-taught designer- maker in the early 80s in London.
While recuperating from a motorbike crash, Tom Dixon found himself with plenty of time. This is when Tom Dixon decided to get into design after getting to know welding while trying to fix his damaged motorbike. Despite lacking technical knowledge due to d
ropping out of art school, Tom Dixon trained himself how to become a designer maker.
Tom Dixon came to England as a toddler after he was born in Sfax, Tunisia in 1959 and grew up in London. He became a bass guitarist in the Funkapolitan band after dropping out of art school in 1980. He became popular, as he was known to organize warehouse parties. He eventually came to learn welding himself.
Despite having very little cash, Tom Dixon had made a name for himself, and his design approach matched the spirit of the early 80s. He made limited editions of self-designed furniture such as the S chair as well as the pylon chair, which he sold to generate some cash for himself as well as his young designer maker career.
Tom Dixon opened a shop that retailed his finished furniture products he designed himself. Tom Dixon got his furniture created by Eurolounge Company that manufactured for other designers such as Michael Young.
Tom Dixon became Habitat’s head designer as his first job. This gave him a good chance to work in partnership with other great designers. This made it possible for Tom Dixon to go back to the design archives where he pulled out designs by Robin Day, Ettore Sottsass as well as Verner Panton to mention a few.
Tom Dixon also commissioned fresh furniture designs from great designers such as Marc Newson, Ineke Hans, Erwan Bouroullec as well as Ronan. Despite Tom Dixon holding the position of head designer at Artek, previously known as Habitat, he still pursues his own personal design projects. Tom Dixon is known to design from inside out for most of his designs. He pays more attention to the inside than the outer surface of his designs. This eventually earned him the nickname “Vertebrate designer”.
Tom Dixon got into furniture design by accident. He was a late developer as well, though it all turned out great for his career. Having worked as a technician as his first formal job at Chelsea Art School, Tom Dixon was more interested in making things through welding than designing them. It turned out to be his hobby.
Despite all these unconventional ways, they all worked out in his favour. Tom Dixon ended up developing his own attitude in his designs since he was never constrained by the formal teaching the other designers usually go through before becoming full-fledged designers. He was at liberty to make his own mistakes, and he learned a lot more from those same mistakes.
Throughout Tom Dixon’s career, he considers that industrial technology as well as handwork have proved the most dynamic in his work, and now looks forward towards using computer software as well as rattan chair production.