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Tom Dixon’s Expressive Reductionism

Tom Dixon’s Expressive Reductionism
By Cristina Morozzi -

When neo-baroque and neo-antique were in full flood (April 2005) and his contemporaries (Wanders, Urquiola, Boontje) were into lacework, crochet and marquetry, Tom Dixon was swimming against the stream with his reductionism.
“Am I the only one to have had his fill of flowers and decorations?” asked Tom at the presentation of his new collection in Milan. “I love botany, I don’t disdain fashion and am attracted by virtuality, but I’m becoming a fundamentalist. In this new season my studio proposes laying objects bare, stripping them of artifice and the superfluous to get to their substance, explore their vital sap and identify their souls. So what you see are the nude skeletons of aluminium chairs and bubble shaped copper-plated lamps concealing a normal light bulb… Reductionism does not mean depriving objects of their character and emotional force. It does mean concentrating on the indispensable – in both materials and technology. Reductionism is a far cry from minimalism. Reductionism in fact accentuates the expressive thrust of objects since it approximates their very essence”. You have to be strong to come out so decidedly against the mainstream and dare use such succinct words when everyone else is indulging in rhetoric. But Tom is strong, say his admirers, a “vertebrate”, in contrast to most designers who are “invertebrates”. Convinced his ideas are good, and while waiting for a British firm to call him, he pointedly adds, Dixon decided to go it alone and create his own brand. He found a manager-partner, David Begg, who believed in him, and a visionary investor, the Swedish Proventus. Dixon’s philosophy is clear and ethical: to reconcile technological and material innovation with design simplification. Tom’s design process starts from within his objects, their structure, materials, and manufacturing technology.
The design is nothing more than a result. Nothing need be added, if anything, something has to be taken away. His famous Mirror Ball lamps,...

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