January 07 2011
Lucia van der Post
Cheer yourself up by paying a visit to designer Tom Dixon’s latest venture at the top of London’s Ladbroke Grove, overlooking the canal. It’s called The Dock. It’s not all that easy to find (the entrance is just south of the bridge to the right) but it’s worth it. What I like about it is that here is one man’s very personal venture. There is nothing of the easy, slick, “Hey, look how clever and modern I’m being” about it.
In it are all the things, old and new, that Tom Dixon loves. I particularly like the fact that The Dock makes use of what was previously a neglected old building.
I love its strong, earthy lines and that inside it is full of surprises. Dotted around are some of Tom Dixon’s own beloved objects – most particularly, a wonderful collection of African and other masks and artefacts, mostly dating from the 1950s (prices start at £120), which he is presumably selling off because no London house could possibly hold them all. Or perhaps he needs to clear the space so that he can go on to collect something entirely new – whale bones? Mexican pottery? Who knows?
There are also collections from some of Tom’s friends – a wonderful selection of coloured vintage glass, which is sold in sets (from £375; secon picture, a set for £600) – as well as splendid copper jelly moulds (£125 for three), jugs, kettles and trays, all curated by Tom as reference points for his designs. Some date back to the early 1900s.
Other things that Tom loves: Piet Hein Eek’s furniture made from scrap wood; the collection, when I visited, included the most beautiful table (first picture, £6,031) finished with Piet Hein Eek’s glazes. There are gorgeous tiles made from Mount Etna lava stone by the Danish company, Made a Mano, all hand-glazed in lovely colours and patterns. You could buy as little as a single tile (which I did; I use it as a trivet). Prices start at £20.
Part of the notion of The Dock is that the collections should be continually refreshed. Recently arrived is Pokit, a young British tailor whose nicely insouciant leather and canvas bags will be on sale from £175. Another new arrival is Fringe Jewellery, whose pieces are made from Swarovski crystal and vintage beads (from £50).
It’s also a great chance to see the whole Tom Dixon range, especially his beautiful digitally produced lamps from the Etch collection (third picture, Etch candle holders, £30 each). And if the body begins to flag, there’s always Stevie Parle’s terrific food in The Dock Kitchen.