“My early designs were extremely ugly, dysfunctional, and hazardous.”

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Renowned designer Tom Dixon made a captivating presentation at C-Next Designers Europe, one of Europe’s largest design conferences, where he revealed his latest installation that challenges traditional bathroom conventions. The conference, held in Almeria, Spain, attracted hundreds of international designers over its four-day duration.

Cosentino, a pioneering surface manufacturer, hosted the event, which featured keynote speeches, panel discussions, and immersive activities with prominent figures in the design world, including Formafantasma, interior designer Claudia Afshar, digital artist Andrés Reisinger, and Max Fraser, editorial director of Dezeen.

During his presentation, Dixon shared the evolution of his design career, highlighting some of his earlier work, which he described as “ugly, unfunctional, and even dangerous.” From humble beginnings as a self-taught designer welding scrap metal to create furniture, Dixon’s breakthrough came when Italian manufacturer Cappellini discovered one of his designs, transforming it into the iconic S chair. This early success catapulted Dixon into the international design scene, with his work now displayed in renowned institutions like the Triennale in Milan and MoMa in New York.

Having spent a decade as the creative director at British homeware brand Habitat, Dixon decided to establish his own brand due to the competitive nature of the product design business. He sought to emulate fashion designers and create his own unique universe where his name would be prominently displayed.

Dixon explained his design philosophy, characterized by overt mechanisms, solid materials, and industrial production techniques. His pieces often use structure as decoration, resulting in a distinctive aesthetic that transcends specific eras or genres. Notable examples include the Hydro chair, manufactured through blow-forming and laser-cutting techniques developed in the automotive industry, and the Press Surface lamps, created by dropping molten glass into iron molds under extreme pressure.

More recently, Dixon collaborated with Cosentino to create Metamorphic, a sculptural installation exhibited at Milano 2023’s Fuori Salone. The installation challenges traditional bathroom standards and utilizes Cosentino’s ultracompact surface material, Dekton, to create four prefabricated bathroom modules in different sizes. These modules can be interpreted as fixtures or architectural elements that hold or channel water. Dixon aimed to create social bathroom spaces reminiscent of Roman baths and spas, transforming the bathroom into a sculptural centerpiece within the home.

C-Next Designers Europe was held from October 1st to October 4th, 2023. For more information about the event, visit its website.

Note: This article was written in partnership with Cosentino and was originally published by Dezeen.

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