“I was display manager at Harvey Nichols when I really got the Tom Dixon bug. I was familiar with his work and had seen his designs in magazines, but it was what he did at 100 % Design in 2007 that really turned my head. He’d been brought in as creative director for the show, and he had this cascade of chairs coming out of the ceiling. It was amazing; you could see it from wherever you were in the exhibition centre.
There’s something very theatrical about his work; it’s like a performance and when he presents his designs it’s often about putting things in an unusual context. He’s a British designer who really champions British design and I like that. What I find different about him is the way that he is interested in industrial processes and a lot of his furniture and interiors are based around this; he uses a lot of blown glass and different metals.
He’s created a lot of interiors, like Shoreditch House and most recently Paramount Bar in New Oxford Street. He uses his own furniture in his designs but he thinks about the space and what existed in the space before, rather than just putting loads of random things in; there’s a really clear thought process behind what he does. He’s so considered, from the way he presents his visuals to his branding to the finish of the furniture he has manufactured. It’s really consistent and always executed to such a high standard.
One of the key and most recognizable things for me is his lighting. He designed this big copper lampshade like a globe – it’s just called Copper Shade – and he’s used them in massive clusters. It’s something that’s been widely copied by all the high street stores.
I think he’s quite a playful designer and we try to carry through that approach to what we do at NoChintz. Our motto is ‘Differentiate through design’ and it’s just saying to people that you can try something that’s a little bit different. It’s not just about a logo or a graphic, it’s everything.
At NoChintz we take inspiration from all kinds of things, but Tom Dixon as a designer and a brand is the one that sticks with me. I don’t actually own anything designed by him though – at some point I’ll have to treat myself.”
NoChintz has just launched Studio 17, a new work space for freelance creatives in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Find out more at www.nochintz.co.uk
Images: Natalie Gray; Tom Dixon; Tom Dixon’s Copper Shade
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