OXFORDSHIRE, United Kingdom — Throughout his career, British industrial designer Tom Dixon has played with the way products are marketed and sold, from a Google-inspired experiment whereby he got a brand advertiser to "sponsor" 1,000 chairs, which he then gave away in London’s Trafalgar square, to partnering with Ikea on a basic bed that could be upgraded with add-ons — some of them crowdsourced — like a marble headboard or a sheepskin cover.
In a clever, quippy speech at VOICES, BoF's new annual gathering for big thinkers, Dixon detailed his experiments in instant gratification.
In addition to the aforementioned chairs and Ikea bed, Dixon has experimented with rapid prototyping and what he called "deconstructed manufacturing" (bringing the factory to the point of purchase) but he has also toyed with the idea of slowing things down. His slow-product project, an underwater furniture factory, used thermo-electricity to create calcium deposits on the metal, which eventually turns into stone over a period of several years.
“Maybe the best thing to do is to not all race toward instant gratification, which I’ve been guilty of in the past,” he concluded. “Maybe slow down completely and do things that take three or four or eight years to mature, and sell them in a smaller, more select way.”