The designer Tom Dixon wants us to slow down for a moment, and use all our senses to appreciate his work.
‘The Restaurant’, his collaboration with Caesarstone at the Milan Design Week, will include four conceptual kitchens, each presenting a multi-sensory experience, combining design and culinary art.
When Tom Dixon first thought about ‘The Restaurant’, the starting point was to initially create four kitchens for four different shows in different countries. “We thought it would be great to bring them all together at the most important design show of all (The Milan Design Week)” he says, “then we thought about different cooking methods, and the way that the transformation of raw ingredients into delicious food is akin to alchemy, and that’s where the idea came from. When we found the 18th century building in the shape of a cross with four distinct spaces, it was like a sign”.
The next phase was translating the concept into four actual kitchens without compromising his artistic style.
“I always want people to slow down, to enjoy the product through many senses. As it’s the year that Eurocucina also happens, it seemed appropriate to create a restaurant – where rather than just looking at an installation, visitors are encouraged to enjoy the installation through their noses and mouths as well as through their eyes. With the madness and the rush of Salone people can relax and get calm in our space.”
Dixon, one of the world’s most influential designers, was born in Tunisia to a French mother and an English father and moved to England at the age of four. He dropped out of Art School and while recovering from a motorcycle accident, he discovered welding and began designing objects, mainly from metal debris and construction waste thrown in the street. At the same time, he was the bass player in the British rock band Funkapolitan.
Dixon won his first international acknowledgement in 1985, when he designed an S shaped legless chair for the Italian company Cappellini. In 1998, he started working in the British company Habitat and four years later, he left it and started his own independent design company bearing his name. Ever since he established his own brand in 2002, Dixon is considered a protagonist original designer, a leader of fascinating and innovating design trends who chooses his collaborations carefully.
The four conceptual kitchens of ‘The Restaurant’ are inspired by the four elements: earth, air, fire and water. Dixon transformed the four elements into formations in space, into color of surfaces chosen from the Caesarstone range, and into complementary furniture from his own design collections.
The first kitchen – ICE was inspired by the frosted lakes and the extreme power of nature in the northern lands. ICE was presented at IDS Toronto in January 2016, and marked the beginning of Dixon’s collaboration with Caesarstone.
The Fire Kitchen has a characteristic basalt look with touches of gold and copper – Dixon’s favorite design materials, suggesting flames.
Finally, inspiration for the Air Kitchen came from the urban architecture in modern cities. It is assembled from thin Caesarstone slabs in a design that combines cooking and work surfaces with frames and shelves floating in the air.
The nature of each kitchen influences the variety of culinary concepts created by the Arabeschi di Latte food design studio, led by Francesca Sarti.
Similar to previous Caesarstone exhibitions at the Milan Design Week, ‘The Restaurant’ presents a multi-sensory experience, combining design and culinary art, integrating Dixon’s artistic design line with prominent trends in contemporary design.
“I think people may be bored of kitchens being as minimal and invisible as possible. I’m demonstrating that kitchens can have a sculptural impact in a space, and promote new ways of eating preparing and enjoying food” says Tom Dixon.
‘The Restaurant’ will be displayed at Milan’s Children Museum (MUBA), an 18th century building encircling a vast garden surrounded by a curved colonnade.
Rotonda della Besana (MUBA), Via Enrico Besana 12, 20122, Milano April 12-17, 2016