tom dixon sculpts ice kitchen installation for caesarstone at IDS toronto
photo by vicky lam




at the interior design show (IDS) in toronto, caesarstone — the leading manufacturer of premium quartz surfaces — presents the ‘ICE’ kitchen installation by tom dixon. the first installment of caesarstone’s year-long collaboration with dixon for 2016 sees a series of monolithic triangular prisms in various volumes and heights form the base of the kitchen, creating a food prep area, serving stations, surfaces and stools. ‘ICE’ references canada’s frozen lakes and the icebreakers that clear the way for freighters during the winter, which leave behind a frozen trail of jagged pieces in a spectrum of white and grey hues. an aluminium extrusion system developed for flat pack housing is used as a secondary material, delivering a cold, industrial aesthetic while simultaneously acting as the structural support and lighting rig, where dixon’s mirrored ‘melt’ lights complement the theme. the toronto ‘ICE’ installation is the first of four semi-professional kitchens that reference the elements of ice, fire, earth and air, the next of which will be revealed at milan design week 2016.


we spoke with dixon about the making of ‘ICE’, the most interesting aspects of the material, and the continuation of his collaboration with caesarstone throughout 2016.

a series of monolithic triangular prisms in various volumes and heights form the base of the kitchen
photo by vicky lam




designboom: how did the collaboration with caesarstone come about?


tom dixon: caesarstone has been approaching us every year in milan and saying ‘we should do something together’. you know we don’t run our business like most other design studios. we spend a lot of our energy working on our own products and doing interior projects, not so many brand collaborations. so what was interesting about this was, they were talking about all the different locations for the project, starting with toronto, continuing in milan, and it just meant it was a more substantial project. I’d rather do something, or not at all. so this is really the first installment in a really ambitious series that will go on for the next couple of months. 

‘ICE’ references canada’s frozen lakes and the icebreakers that clear the way for freighters during the winter
photo by vicky lam




DB: how did the natural elements inform the process for this kitchen and the next in the series?


TD: there’s four elements that we’re working with – water, earth, air and fire – they’re sort of the medieval elements. so water is for toronto, for their icebergs, snow melting…that’s sort of your memory of canada. that then lends itself to freezing things, steaming things, boiling things in a kitchenette.

the stools reveal angular geometries that reference the jagged edges of ice offcuts
image © designboom




DB: what did you find was the most interesting thing about working with the material?


TD: I have sort of an obsession with materials. we use both synthetic materials and natural materials. but whats interesting about caesarstone is that you can use it at much longer lengths and that fact that its loaded with quartz so it has a lot of natural material in it. there’s also a real control over the color, you can glue it together seamlessly, it doesn’t discolor like marble does. there’s all kinds of specific qualities which are slightly different from stone, and we really had to learn how to use it. and I’m always at my best when I’m discovering how to do something, rather than when I’m expert. what’s clear is that kitchens, which I’ve become increasingly interested in sine I have this restaurant in london, are really harsh environments – there’s chopping stuff, fire, cutting, constantly pummeling, acids, means that it needs to be something incredibly tough. caesarstone is really structurally capable to support that.

the prisms create areas for food prep, serving stations, surfaces and stools
photo by vicky lam




DB: what was the reason for the decision of aluminum as a secondary material?


TD: well caesarstone likes to show things with complementary materials. we’ve been working a lot with how to use metal joinery, and wanted this to also feel semi-industrial. there’s a raw element to the choice, and I think it works quite well with the slightly more synthetic nature of the stone. aluminum has sort of a ruggedness on its own, and when I’d normally use steel, aluminum has an advantage in the kitchen in that it doesn’t rust.

dixon’s mirrored ‘melt’ lights complement the theme overhead
image © designboom




DB: and the color? was the pale hue an obvious choice?


TD: yeah, the color was a clear choice for toronto, also because we’re going to do four different kitchens. this one was always going to be interesting and pale because its the water installation. the fire one is going to be dark and charred. so for each one, we’re trying to bring out slightly different characteristics of the material. it’ll really start to come alive with the different activities that happen in it also.

detail of sloping sink that angles downward for water flow 
image © designboom

a cold, industrial aesthetic from the aluminum supports meets the caesarstone material
image © designboom

an aluminium extrusion system is used as a secondary material
image © designboom

angular geometries are based off the shapes of icy offcuts from icebreaking machines 
image © designboom

the caesarstone surfaces are complemented by aluminum kitchenware
image © designboom

aluminum beams support the surfaces and add an industrial aesthetic 
image © designboom

detail of the metal beam that intersects the triangular stone surface 
image © designboom

the kitchen installation is a vast setting that includes lights from dixon’s collection overhead 
image © designboom

portrait of tom dixon beside the ‘ICE’ kitchen installation