No frills, just good design made accessible to more people. Hong Kong-based designer Sean Dix tells us what drives his work.
6 June, 2013
When I meet Sean Dix at OM – the showroom that carries his furniture designs exclusively in Singapore, I discover the man (dressed casually in jeans for this interview) to be exactly like his work: approachable.
Born in Kansas City in the United States and having lived in many parts of the world including Milan where he was based for 15 years, Sean made the move to Hong Kong in 2008 where he now lives and works.
“I felt like after 15 years in Italy, I had reach the point where I wasn’t discovering as much as I wanted to,” shares Sean, “and there were some really interesting opportunities that presented themselves in Hong Kong and Southern China, so it made Hong Kong a logical place to be. One of the things I love about the place is that it’s such a hub for Asia.”
Sean describes his furniture designs as honest, straightforward and affordable. Quality and attention to detail are also important features of his work.
And [the furniture] should “look better banged up” Sean adds. “For me, that’s really important. [It should be] something that your grandkids can say ‘Wow, grandpa was cool’.”
Simplicity is an underlying theme in his collection, and if there is a classic, vintage feel to the furniture pieces, it’s due in part to Sean’s approach to design. “The process, the way I think about things, is how designers used to think about [design],” he explains.
“It’s very analytical [my approach to design]”, Sean continues, explaining that much time is spent thinking and making notes, before he even starts to draw to ensure that he doesn’t get caught up in details that might not be the right ones for the project.
“Perhaps my signature approach is that I approach things from a concept; there is an idea behind [the work] I do,” says Sean after a considered pause.
Besides designing furniture, Sean also creates retail concepts and works on the interiors of bars, restaurants and residences. Many of these projects include custom furniture designed by Sean that go on to become part of the furniture collection under his own label.
“I generally don’t specify anything and get thrown into a panic when I have to. It’s much easier for me to just design it,” says Sean.
Triple-X Low Table
Sean’s products are produced by a young but amibitious manufacturer in Guangzhou, China.
“They don’t want to be a great Chinese manufacturer, they want to be one of the best manufacturers in the world,” says Sean.
“They are looking at Herman Miller in the ‘50s as their competition. I’m also the art director of the company and the owners jokingly call me George Nelson [who] was the art director of Herman Miller. [George Nelson] also happens to be one of my idols as a designer.”
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