POST 2: Sitting Pretty 20th Century Chairs: Tom Dixon – lily


Is a self-taught British designer specialised in welded salvage furniture.

He was born in Sfax, Tunisia in 1959. Dixon was brought to England at the age of 4 and grew up in London. After dropping out of art school in 1980, he played bass guitar in the band Funkapolitan and organised warehouse parties, before teaching himself welding.


As an autodidact (self taught) he got into the design business when he was 20 years old, and organised events for the english party scene before creating his first objects at the age of 25, becoming one of the most talked-about avant-garde designers.

Tom Dixon fell into design by accident when he found himself with lots of time on his hands while recovering from a motorcycle accident. As an art school drop-out with no technical training, he taught himself how to become a designer-maker in 1983 after discovering welding when trying to repair his motorbike.


Dixon’s D-I-Y approach to design matched the post-punk mood of the early 1980s. Having made his name by making and selling limited editions of his welded furniture. Chairs such as the S Chair and Pylon Chair he started to sell through his own shop, and then started to manufacture through the company Eurolounge which produced his work and that of other designers, like Michael Young.


In 1991 he founded his own studio ‘space’ and launched ‘Eurolounge’, a series of
multifunctional furnishing items. In this time period he produced numerous exhibitions on
‘creative recycling’ and experiments with unusual materials.
He also designed objects and interiors for Terence Conran, Jean Paul Gaultier, Romeo Gigli, Ralph Lauren and Vivienne Westwood.
His work is part of the collection of world’s leading museums as the Boston museum
of fine art, the London design museum, the centre Pompidou in Paris, the Moma in New
York, the museum of modern art in Tokyo, the Victorian & Albert museum and the Vitra
museum in Basle.


Dixon continued his collaborations with other designers in his “first proper job” as head of design at Habitat, where he has reissued archive designs by Verner Panton, Ettore Sottsass and Robin Day as well as commissioning new pieces from Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Ineke Hans and Marc Newson. He continues to initiate new projects as an independent designer and as creative director of Artek, the Finnish furniture manufacturer founded by the architect Alvar Aalto in the 1930s.

“A kind friend once described me as a ‘vertebrate designer’,” Dixon said.

“That means that I design from the bones outwards and am not really interested in surface.”


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