Catching up with the acclaimed British designer in the wake of a year-long collaboration.

The kitchen is the gathering place of any house party, and at IDS Vancouver, the same was true. Tom Dixon collaborated on a masterfully moody design with Caesarstone for the big event, installing an oversized open-concept kitchen in the middle of the trade show floor. It’s the fourth in a series of kitchens displayed at interior design events across the world over the course of the past year, and the theme of this grand finale was a hot one: “Fire.” We sat down with the acclaimed designer to discuss collaboration, cutting-edge kitchens, and how to overcome a boring dinner party.108a3541This is one kitchen design out of a larger series of four, correct?We were supposed to show each kitchen in different shows and they would all come together in Milan, but we started off in Milan, so it was a bit backwards. It’s been interesting to do something so monumental in a temporary way. The original idea was to do four different kitchens based off four different cooking methods from four different countries. This one, Fire, is the American kitchen—it’s open and airy and firey, like barbecuing. It’s dark and hellish and smokey. Our Ice kitchen was more Canadian.What was the thinking behind the unusual layout?The cooking area is in the middle so you can interact while you eat with no distinction between eating area and cooking area. I think there’s a blurring of boundaries. More restaurants have open concept when they used to be hidden. There’s a real celebration of cooking, social element of cooking, whether in restaurants or in the domestic arena, right now. Just think about kitchen islands: rather than hugging the wall, you’re participating in it in the middle. This is even more of a deconstruction of that.108a3511What is it about the open-concept trend that’s so appealing to people right now?I do think there’s a general rethinking of our relationship with food, and kind of an obsession with cooking and preparation and seeing the process, which is quite healthy. Cookbooks, programs, top of the rankings—for the U.K., where we always have had really terrible food, it’s a revolution.108a3380There’s also a trend towards natural materials right now. Why do you think that’s so attractive? Even though Caesarstone is synthetic, each slab has a different character, just like natural stone. I’ll admit, I was suspicious at first of the manufactured nature of the material, but you start to figure out what they can do beyond stone. You can cut a bunch of little holes in them, you can get them in much bigger pieces and can glue them seamlessly in a way that’s hard to do with natural stone. It’s got an amazing series of qualities when you start thinking of it as not-stone.108a3585The lights here are interesting, with a softness that contrasts with the structure of the cubes.They’re supposed to represent the flame. It’s polycarbonate and moulded—everybody thinks they’re blown glass, but they’re industrially produced and you can’t tell that they’re all the same.What’s your favourite thing about this space?There’s multiple seating areas. I like the idea of being able to move around. I’ve sat in so many boring restaurants through multi-course meals. I get bored easily, so we tested out moving around every course. You get all these new sets of friends in one evening, it’s like going to four restaurants.108a3508I see you’ve got the carpet going up the wall here. Trend alert?I’m really big on wall carpets, trying to do ceiling carpets. But they keep peeling off—they’re too heavy.

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