How did wood come to be your medium? “Wood is a living material, so you don’t know what it will be like until you start making something. I always ask myself ‘What can this piece of wood do?’

“I became interested in woodwork while at secondary school [in Britain]. My woodwork teacher [Harry Knock] played a very important role in guiding me to where I am today. After I graduated he was always the first person in the door at all my exhibitions. My latest furniture collection is named after him. I am now involved in lecturing at universities and at the Furniture Guild, where I help youngsters prepare for their profession. It is payback time.”

How Jim Thompson creative director went from political science to design

How would you describe your style? “Simple designs with attention to detail and craftsmanship are always key elements in my work. Luckily, there is a grow­ing interest in crafts­manship, with consumers demanding better quality. The furniture we make is an investment. It is also less wasteful to have something you want to keep from generation to generation.”

Do you start a project with an image of how it will look in a particular setting? “I concentrate on letting the design flow but, thanks to my training, I also think about how it will fit into an interior setting. For example, if it is a calm setting, then I look for a straight, simple grain but if it’s a more drama­tic environment, then I look for a more intricate pattern in the wood.”

Hong Kong furniture designer makes home her showroom

Which projects excite you? “I was invited by Wallpaper* [magazine] to work on a crossover project with London-based shoe designer Beatrix Ong. We created the Shoe Tree storage system, which has perfectly detailed joints. We launched it at the Salone [Internazionale del Mobile di Milano; the Milan Furniture Fair], in 2016, and it is now sold at Lane Crawford.”

Tell us about your work with boutique hotels. “They offer more opportunity to craft design than a hotel chain would. I’m currently working with British architect Keith Griffiths, looking after three of his properties, including an old castle, so all the furniture is designed for that specific scale.”

How Tom Dixon became a designer by accident, and why he’s growing furniture underwater


How do you find your inspiration? “I carry a sketchbook. Photographs instantly capture an angle but you remember something differently when you have sketched it.”

What next? “We are working on the complete refurbishment of a 400-room golf resort in Wales that is due to open this year.”