Tom Dixon is a thinking chap. He is occupied with thoughts about the form of design, technology of design, business of design, distribution of design and — more importantly — the responsibility of the design industry. In all of these spheres he is somewhat of an outlaw.
Calling him solely a “designer” is a bit of a misnomer. Dixon prefers to think of himself as an industrialist. After reading his Naive History of Shopkeeping, I’d call him a reversed industrialist, someone who is interested in tracing back to the way the world worked before the industrial revolution and global markets, when things were manufactured, sold and consumed locally.
About this Video
This interview is a the third in a series Alexandra Lerman conducted during Miami Art Basel.
We filmed this interview using the Panasonic AG-HSC1 high definition camera.
Dixon’s thinking is very connected to the bigger picture in which design exists. When asked to bring baskets from Tanzania to sell in Habitat stores in the UK, Dixon faced a problem: the local community did not have a well. He urged Habitat to build a well. And they did.
We caught up with Dixon at the Artek pavilion in Miami to talk about responsibilities designers face today. As creative director of Artek, the Finnish furniture manufacturer founded by the architect Alvar Aalto in the 1930s, Dixon reinvigorated the company and re-presented it to the world as an example of what a smart manufacturer could do to help deal with consumer waste by buying back old furniture in a project called 2nd Cycle.
In fact, the overarching message of 2nd Cycle is whether we need to design anything new at all.