Cast series by Tom Dixon



A collection of aluminium objects cast from polystyrene foam by British designer Tom Dixon will be exhibited at Mitterrand+Cramer gallery in Geneva, Switzerland, from tomorrow.


Dixon shapes the objects in polystyrene foam before packing them in sand and pouring in molten aluminium.


The foam forms burn away, leaving the cast aluminium structures behind.


These are coated with gloss stove enamel.


The exhibition will continue until 2 May.


Here's some more information from Mitterrand+Cramer:


Simultaneously to the common opening night of the "QuARTier des Bains", Edward Mitterrand and Stéphanie Cramer are pleased to announce the second episode of a series of exhibitions dedicated to a selection of the most prominent contemporary designers.

Thus, after Studio Job, Mitterrand+Cramer, helped by swiss design curators Sophie et Philippe Cramer, are now proud to inaugurate the first solo exhibition in Switzerland by british design star, Tom Dixon, with twelve recent works processed by three different production means.

Observing this variety of mediums and technologies was the original idea behind this exhibition.

Cast series

The act of working in these super lightweight modern foam materials allows a total flexibility and speed in construction, which make the creative process akin to action painting or abstract expressionism in the sixties.

When transformed into aluminium through the casting process, the unique object is then fossilised, as the original evaporates into thin air, to be replaced by solid, heavyweight aluminium …. Alchemy at last!

The result is an object which is a one-off artefact that bears all the marks of the making activity.

Process: The polystyrene form is packed into a block of casting sand which is then set. Molten aluminium melts at 1000 degree’s and is poured in through a gate in the mould (holes allowing metal in and air out). The original polystyrene burns and evaporates out leaving the aluminium to fill and replicate the exact form.

Once cooled the piece is finished with a gloss stove enamel which is heat applied giving a high quality, corrosion resistant, durable finish

Posted on Wednesday March 18th 2009 at 6:18 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • David Smith, eat your heart out.

  • BH

    Very impressed. Amazing technique. The finished cast retains the almost anti gravitational lightness of the polystyrene, except it is heavy cast aluminum – a really wonderful dichotomy.

  • azhar

    amaturely charming… if a little un-convincing

  • seagrut

    A very inspiring process!!
    wondering however, if they weren’t nicer before the coloured enamel coating…

  • tommy

    tom dixon has just cranked the wank-factor to 11.
    well done.

  • Roberto

    could that not be a result after children played in fathers workshop? hope Tom enjoy as much as the kids during the collecting, gluing, shaping, closing one eye to get the right angle and so on… material meet Tom meet Gallery.

  • wentao

    technique is nothing new.

    my relatives like many others used that way to make things long ago in a small city in China.

  • zodiac 12


    Mr Dixon discovers Giacometti and Sottsass in the same week.
    must be exciting for him, no?

    zodiac 12.

  • BH

    I would be really interested to see a photo of what they were like before the enamel was applied. Could someone from Tom’s office please post some to Dezeen? Maybe along with some process photos?

  • Cr

    Please .. that is probably the crappiest low-tech technique ever ! Maybe even the first one we learned in metal-class at artschool. You destroy your polystyrene foam and later the actual mold.

    I usually adore Dixon’s work .. but this is just lame imho.

  • BH

    Here we go again… why does everything – the technique in this instance – have to be new or high tech? Is it some kind of childish game to see who can be the most radical and innovative? What is wrong with applying ideas or techniques from the past? I enjoy the idea that this is an old “crappy” low tech process, and what is interesting is the material transformation, admittedly perhaps more interesting than the pieces created here.

  • Chris

    Totally agree Tommy. Pure essence of ballbag. Wanktastic.

  • I do kinda wish that the pieces had been painted more of a foam color, whether that be light pink or light blue. The white chair is strongest in speaking of materiality. These would be great to see in person.

  • WTF 2007

    delightful appearance. endless possibilities. must have been fun to make!

  • piti

    I have seen someone done this technique with the stool…before.

  • mikaël

    these should be sold in DIY kits. low tech material, low tech technique, just stick pieces of packing foam together and melt your old beer cans, very cool. However, lost foam is extremely mucho beaucoup ganz damaging to the environment, perhaps another way (maybe lost tapioca) should be used…

  • Stefan, Berlin

    Lost tapioca!?

    At least it would be a development and progression from of what Max Lamb did already with this sand-cast-foam series. It is true, design technique is getting a bit ridiculous, but I like the idea of lost tapioca pudding. If you are going to be ridiculous, you might as well be fully gay and insane, I say. Tom Dixon seems more serious than that though.

    Some good things will come from this new openness and new materiality, I think.

  • theo

    Max Lamb used to work for Tom… still does maybe?

  • Bozo

    The King

  • benny

    Tom Dixon is one of the most over rated designers today. Most of what he designs has little significance to anything important!

  • benny

    If the designers name was Fred Harris instead of Tom Dixon – I have a feeling that the comments would be nowhere near as positive! Do as public enemy said – DON’T BELIVE THE HYPE!

  • playcheckers

    intern work

  • Katerina

    I think benny (above) is right-
    If we thought that this was by some unknown, 50 year old American crafter/artist then it would seem pretty cheesy. No?

    For me the only thing that is interesting is that Tom Dixon is an industrial production guy mostly and that he is trying out something ‘weird’. But if I really look at this work dead-on it is pretty horrifyingly embarrasing/unsophisticated.

    If Max Lamb does work for him still- he should take this as a cue to get the heck out.. his polystyrene sandcast chairs were, at least, quite elegant.