London Design Festival: Tom Dixon Exhibits ‘Materiality’ in the Coal Office

When we last heard from Tom Dixon, he was defying the global pandemic by carrying on a series of launch events under the banner ’24 Hours In…’ – which took the exalted British designer, sometimes in virtual form, to Copenhagen, Paris, Milan, Stockholm and Shanghai. Lockdowns be damned.

But a now partially vaccinated world is struggling back to live, in-person events – and this week brings the return of that annual exaltation of style and innovation that is the London Design Festival (September 18 – 26). For it, he has organized an exhibition called Materiality, which is actually set up in the various rooms of the brand’s headquarters within the industrial-chic Coal Office complex in newly trendy King’s Cross.

The central focus of the exhibition will be MASS, a new collection of highly-polished-brass tables, plus coat- and bookstands of the same materials. And created exclusively for the event is a limited edition MASS four-poster bed, which is of the cool, low-slung platform variety. It’s covered with Kvadrat’s brand new Sisu fabric, designed by Danh Vo and Nanna Ditzel, which is an homage to the celebrated textile designed by the latter in 1965 – with a thickly woven checked upholstery, available in sixteen different patterns. The bed promises to be a genuine collector’s item for Dixon aficionados.

Most fascinatingly, there is also a dedicated Cork Room, with cork sheets by Amorim covering the walls for proper effect. Cork is actually on the rise as a design material, especially as it is recyclable and carbon negative, and can be sensitively harvested. Dixon’s PRESS collection of cork tables and stools on display convey a raw but elegant sense of naturality.

Illumination for the exhibition comes by way of the new MELT chandelier, with its amorphous, blown glass gold blobs.

The attached Coal Office restaurant is also joining in, with a special daily afternoon tea service – in conjunction with Cocoon Tea Artisans – in the MASS Gallery, including Head Chef Nitai Shevach’s signature olive oil cake w/ pistachio cream and kadaifi crumble, as well as a cremeaux choux pastry w/ rose and pistachio. Nyetimber Classic Cuvee MV will be on offer as well, for those inevitable daytime bubbly cravings – and the West Chillington vineyard will also host a Monday evening exhibit tour and sparkling wine tasting.

Materiality will also include Dixon’s ECLECTIC and ELEMENTS candles and diffusers, FOG incense burners, CLOUD aluminum tableware, the stunning, award-winning PUCK glassware collection, and the new Liquid bathroom collaboration with Swiss furniture makers Vitra.

It’s precisely this type of event that has kept Tom Dixon at the center of the contemporary design conversation, contextualizing his creations in unique ways to properly draw out their essence. It’s also a hopeful sign that we may indeed be socially moving on from the coronavirus crisis, after eighteen months of staring at the same four walls. Hopefully.

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