Inspiration And Dominant Influenced Tom Dixon Cultural Studies Essay

Introduction------------------------------------------------------- 2

Biography of Tom Dixon--------------------------------------- 2-3

Inspiration and Dominant influenced Tom Dixon---------3-4

Design philosophy of Tom Dixon----------------------------- 4

Design Methodology of Tom Dixon-------------------------- 4

Tom Dixon preferred materials and colour---------------- 5

Iconic design of Tom Dixon- Jack---------------------------- 5

Documented works of Tom Dixon---------------------------- 6

Task B - Design Era

Descriptions of Wedgwood ------------------------------------7-8

Philosophy or founding idea of Wedgwood---------------- 8

The designers of Wedgwood and their works------------- 8-9

The Wedgwood designers preferred material,

shape, and colour----------------------------------------------- 9

Conclusion-------------------------------------------------------- 9-10

List of Figure ---------------------------------------------------- 10


Internet Reference---------------------------------------- 11

Book Reference-------------------------------------------- 11

Task A -Designer


In this report, I am required to found a famous product designer who is best in plastic and electrical design and a design era to understand and analysis. I need to understand the designer biography, inspiration and dominant influenced, design philosophy, design methodology, iconic design, and etc. The designer I choose is Tom Dixon. He is very famous in lighting design and most likely to using plastic and metal as the material. The design era I choose is Wedgwood, is founded by Josiah Wedgwood, start in 1759.

Biography of Tom Dixon


Figure 1 : Tom Dixon

In 1959, he was born in Sfax, Tunisia to an English father and a French/Latvian mother. Dixon and his family move to England from his aged of four. After that, they are living in Egypt and Morocco settling in London in 1964. In 1979, he starts a foundation course in Chelsea School of Art. However, he drops he course after taking six month and spent time for playing bass with a rock band and organizing warehouse parties.

He was a professional musician from the age of 21-23. He record an album with the band "Funkapolitan" in Jimmy Hendrix’s studio in New York. When he was 25 years old, he become a designer who is the most talked about avant-grade designer. During the same time, he started to run rap club in the London club scene. Unfortunately a motorcycle accident stopped him from playing bass guitar which was forced him to leave the band When Tom’s band had a disco in Berkerley Squares, they try to welding on stage. This let him back into craft and design. The visitors were most of photographer, music and others creative industries, they were request Tom to do more designs increased quickly. The creative took over his music time and Tom decided to spend all his time on design. So, Tom became one of the famous product designer, always seen trying out of new materials or applying industrial ideas to high-end design.

In 1985, Tom founded his workshop, Creative Salvage. Which is in 1994, turned into Space, a retail outlet for emerging designers in London’s Notting Hill. His work caught the attention of the Italian manufacturing guru Giulio Cappellini, who put Dixon’s iconic "s" chair into production in 1989. It added for permanent collection at the museum of Modern Art, New York. After 1994, he is interested in plastic and found Eurolounge to produce his design. The first object Eurolounge produced was the rotation molded "Jack" is a "sitting, stacking, lighting thing. In 1998, he was the head of UK design at Habitat. While he joined "Enrolounge", his opportunity to explore his creativity on a higher level. In 1999, he was recruited International Head of design at Habitat. In 2002, Tom and David Begg set up the company "TOM DIXON" which is developed his own collection contemporary lighting and furniture design.

Inspiration and Dominant influenced Tom Dixonimages (1).jpgimages (5).jpgdownload.jpg

Figure 2.1 : "Figure No.6" Figure2.2 : Henry Moore works Figure2.3 : Henry Moore works

He like to get his influence from others fields. He is very interesting in trends, but more in music, architecture, fashion, and food trends rather than design trends.

The inspiration of Tom Dixon is 20th century sculpture. Especially, Henry Moore works. Dixon said that ‘ "Figure No.6" always inspire him.’

Henry Moore, full name Henry Spencer Moore (30 July1989 -31 August 1986) was an English sculptor and artist. He was born in Castleford, Yorkshire, England and died in Much Hadham, Hertfordshire. He was famous of his semi-abstract monumental bronze sculpture which are located in public around the world. His works are usually abstractions of human figure, typically appear mother – and –child or reclining figure. Moore forms are normally suggestive women body. When he become well-known , his ability fulfil large- scale of commissions and made him very wealthy. However, he lived frugally and most of the money his earned was endowing the Henry Moore Foundation, which is set-up for support education and promote the arts.

" In my opinion, everything, every shape, every bit of nature form, animals, people, pebbles, shells, anything you like are all things that can help you to make a sculpture." ----------(Henry Moore as quoted in Five British Sculptors (Work and Talk) by Warren Forma, 1964.)

Design philosophy of Tom Dixon

The design philosophy of Tom Dixon is not to copy the product already existing. Understand more about his philosophy can see true his quote below:

"We work in an industry where it’s getting easier and easier to copy things. So we’re always looking for more difficult and personal textures, finishes, techniques, and finding secret recipes for glazes where you can’t really control the process. We’re kind of letting go of that absolute consistency, which a lot of manufacturers and a lot of designers strive for. We were looking at influences, from The Flinstones to Art Nouveau, to try and find something that’s a bit earthier, where each object is as different from the other as possible. It will be interesting to see how these take off and whether people get it, or if they find the natural variance difficult to handle."-------Tom Dixon

"Try not to repeat what already exists." ------- Tom Dixon

Design Methodology of Tom Dixon

The methodology of Tom Dixon is same as the other designer begins in research, concept, refine concept, concept development, mock up, and model. Sometimes, he is create design without sketching.

Tom Dixon preferred materials and colour

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Figure 3.1: Copper Figure 3.2 : Gold Figure3.3 : Silver

He like to use metal in his product. He have used metals since his start his career, and he like colours that are intrinsic to the material. For example, he like copper pluming, lead roofing, and aluminum racing cars. He also like the symbolic nature gold, silver, and bronze in medals and prize.


Figure 4 : Fluorescent Orange

He favorite colour is fluorescent orange. In his opinion, it is the colour which you see in safety application, like ambulance and crowed control barriers, as it is a functional colour.

Iconic design of Tom Dixon- Jackdownload (2).jpg

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Figure 5.1 : Jack Fluo Figure 5.2 : Jack Figure5.3 : usage of "Jack"

The multi – functional object is made from rotation moulding. Jack first launched in1994, produced by Eurolounge. Jack is the award winning because it is multi function. It is a sitting, stacking, lighting things. They are available in three colour. The dimension of them is 52x58x58(cm).

Documented works of Tom Dixon

S chair3.jpgdownload (4).jpg

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Figure 6.1, 6.2 & 6.3 : S chair.

S chair is a chair with metal frame covered in woven marsh straw, wicker, Feltro, Panno, Glove, Satu, Trapez, Optik, Small Dot, leather, leather extra and spotted leather black/white. It is produced by Cappellini launched in 1991/1992. The dimension of it is 52x40x100(cm).

Pylon chair

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Figure 7.1, 7.2 & 7.3 : Pylon chair

Pylon chair is a armchair in iron wire varnished natural aluminum, orange, blue and gypsum white are available. It is produced by Cappellini launched in 1992. It is essentially a desk or dining chair, though can be used for occasional purpose too. The dimension of it is 60x67x128(cm).

Task B - Design Era

Descriptions of Wedgwood

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Figure 8: The Portland (barberini) vase

Black jasperware, c.1790, manufactured

by Josiah Wedgwood. Wedgwood Museum.

Wedgwood is a design era in eighteenth-century started in Britain and also it also is a company. On May 1, 1759, a craftsman –merchant who is Josiah Wedgwood set up a private equity company based in New York city, USA. The company name is Josiah Wedgwood and Sons, commonly known as Wedgwood. The main purpose of the company is produce decorative arts that both competed with continental luxury production and expanded the trade in such goods to include an upwardly mobile middle class. The inherent flexibility of the specialization of labor, combined with the ingenuity of entrepreneurs, helped to make such success possible. Once again such efforts required not only capital investment and oversight of a number of interdependent activities involving both manufacture and marketing, but the existence of more competitive often made both efforts and results more varied and dynamic.

Josiah Wedgwood (1730 – 1795), who is come from a potters family in Staffordshire, there is known throughout Britain at the time for the production and sale of earthenware. He is a trained craftsman, his early contribution was primarily technical. He successfully developed a process for making a cream-coloured glazed earthenware that was more refined than other local product. His product preference in the luxury market for simple, regular shapes. One of the famous product of Josiah is the "Queen’s ware with green Water Leaf pattern" earthenware. They are painted in green and gilt with a geometric pattern band beneath pierced border and gilt rims. The product are still in selling. The price of them are around £11,250.

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Figure 9 : Josiah Wedgwood, Queen’s Ware

with Green Leaf pattern earthenware, c 1790,

Wedgwood Museum.

Philosophy or founding idea of Wedgwood

The idea of Wedgwood era product is come from the ancient mythologies of Roman, Greek, Egyptian. During that period, archeological fever caught the attention of many artists. Nothing could have been more suitable to satisfy this huge business. They are not to produce replicas of ancient art facts. The other things can found from Wedgwood design is political symbols.

The philosophy of Wedgwood is combined business and arts together. The designers of Wedgwood tried to target their consumer from middle class to high society.

The designers of Wedgwood and their works

Robert Adam (1728 – 1792), the emergence of the designer in craft production in Britain. He was a furniture and interior designer. He has supplied drawing of furniture and other interior furnishing to manufacturers involved in the decoration of homes for wealthy client. The iconic design is a Lansdowne House in London, 1765, which is reinstalled in Philadelphia Museum of Art. His design is typically Wedgwood, he is involved in using ancient mythologies and political symbols into his design.

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Figure 10 : Robert Adam, interior, Lansdowne

House, London, 1765, reinstalled in Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Thomas Chippendale (1718 – 1779), he is a furniture designer whose London workshop not only produced high quality furniture but also on the publication of his designs beginning in 1754 in commonly known as ‘The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Diretor’. Many of his design imitate contemporary examples of ornate carved furniture from France. However, the style of him is related eighteenth- century dress and other applied arts. The iconic design of him is Gothic chairs.

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Figure 11.1 & 11.2 : Thomas Chippendale, Gothic chairs, 1754.

The Wedgwood designers preferred material, shape, and colour

The material use in Wedgwood design era is depending of the designer and the product. Josiah Wedgwood is involved to design earthenware, the material of his used is clay and mixture with lapidary to produced basalt and jasper ware. The shape of his product normally is simple and regular shape with decorative pattern. The colour he like to use is black, blue, and white. Robert Adam normally using sculpture and painted to highlight his design. Thomas Chippendale is always use wood with sculpture to do design.


In conclusion, I have learned more about plastic and electrical design and developments with technology from doing research of Tom Dixon. I also learned from him for how to create my own style and philosophy. At the same time, I have done the Wedgwood design era, I had understood how strong of the influence of the culture and praise for handicraft during the period.

List of Figure

Figure 1 : Tom Dixon

Figure 2.1 : "Figure No.6"

Figure2.2 : Henry Moore works

Figure2.3 : Henry Moore works

Figure 3.1: Copper

Figure 3.2 : Gold

Figure3.3 : Silver

Figure 4 : Fluorescent Orange

Figure 5.1 : Jack Fluo

Figure 5.2 : Jack

Figure5.3 : usage of "Jack"

Figure 6.1, 6.2 & 6.3 : S chair.

Figure 7.1, 7.2 & 7.3 : Pylon chair

Figure 8: The Portland (barberini) vase Black jasperware, c.1790, manufactured by Josiah Wedgwood. Wedgwood Museum.

Figure 9 : Josiah Wedgwood, Queen’s Ware with Green Leaf pattern earthenware, c 1790, Wedgwood Museum.

Figure 10 : Robert Adam, interior, Lansdowne House, London, 1765, reinstalled in Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Figure 11.1 & 11.2 : Thomas Chippendale, Gothic chairs, 1754.