Sometimes it pays to revisit old ideas. Fortunately for British designer Tom Dixon he’s got some good ones to pull from, among them the Beat lighting family, a collection made by master metalworkers in India. Rather than smooth out every edge, these artisans left some of the hammer marks as they were. That same craftsmanship is present again in Cloud, a new line of vessels, platters and bowls that Dixon unveiled at Stockholm Design Week this week.
Like Beat, Cloud preserves the mark of the craftsman. Small indents run along the four pieces, giving each a more organic feel. This natural, untouched look juxtaposes the material itself, a polished aluminum, which can often look more cold and industrial.
“I knew I wanted something rounded and asymmetrical,” Dixon tells Robb Report of the design. “I think people are increasingly looking for things that are slightly softer. Spending inordinate amounts of time on computers or on Zoom like we’re doing now is causing us to seek something less synthetic.”
Cloud’s big, seed-pod-like shapes aren’t just pretty to look at either. Function is just as important as form here—the platter is designed to hold fruits, and you can slot two or three bottles of Champagne into the bowl. “I wanted to create big, generous vessels for all kinds of different uses,” Dixon adds.
Like many of the designer’s pieces, part of the impetus came from his London restaurant, the Coal Office. The team had observed that they didn’t have containers large enough to hold large quantities of food or drink—the response was to create a series that did just that.
But while Cloud is in many ways a celebration of the handmade, its presentation at Stockholm Design Week tapped into all of the technological advantages that the year 2021 has to offer. Since Dixon couldn’t be there in person, he sent a hologram of himself ahead that helped showcase the new works and answered questions about them. “There’s going to be a move toward more virtual activity,” Dixon says. “The pandemic has completely fast-tracked those things. This is a first attempt to see whether having something apart from a microscopic laptop screen is more engaging.”