Going places
Wallpaper|April 2018

Tom Dixon on why he and his studio are hitting the road to carve out a hardworking new hub in London’s King’s Cross

Ellie Stathaki

Sitting across the table at his showroom in London’s Portobello Dock, Tom Dixon looks nervous. It’s not the prospect of the interview; Dixon is a seasoned interviewee, with over three decades’ worth of design prominence. Any perceived nerves come from the anticipation of what’s to come. His studio is about to embark on a very special – and logistically complicated – project: the full relocation of its office, showroom and restaurant to a new home in King’s Cross. An especially designed space featuring added functions, key collaborations and the chance to connect even more and better with the wider public make for exciting plans; although, by the designer’s own admission, it’s all a little daunting to organise alongside the day job.

The location is The Coal Office, a long, industrial brick building on the southern edge of Granary Square, running alongside the canal, just off Heatherwick Studio’s upcoming Coal Drops Yard. The existing structure seems larger than it actually is, its lightly curved footprint being fairly narrow, yet it nevertheless boasts some 1,640 sq m, as well as a mix of internal environments. There are both high and low ceilings, access to the outdoors, and some almost underground spaces, these last in the brick arches that once connected the building – constructed in 1851 and home to the area’s coal and fish goods offices – to the city’s waterway transportation system. Here, come April, Dixon will launch his new headquarters, an extensive design hub that will not only house his research and development studio, but also production facilities, and friends of the brand.

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