This article originally appeared in Surface Magazine
What’s Happening: Due to travel restrictions, Tom Dixon couldn’t go to Stockholm to debut his namesake brand’s latest offerings during the city’s design week. In lieu of a physical body, the British designer went as a hologram.
The Download: Dixon’s likeness attended a series of events yesterday, including an auction of signed Cloud prototypes, a flower arranging workshop, and a disco hosted by the Swedish music technology company Teenage Engineering. His use of hologram technology builds off of his recent 24 Hours concept, in which his studio forgoed taking booths at Maison & Objet and 3daysofdesign to instead create an events schedule spanning different locations across Paris and Copenhagen. Each event would then be recorded and disseminated online.
His decision to attend Stockholm Design Week as a hologram may seem like a gimmick, but workplace analysts suggest he might be onto something. As the post-coronavirus situation remains unclear and companies are still envisioning how to foster collaboration in more interactive ways from afar, holograms are emerging as a novel approach. They’re much more engaging to work with than tiles of faces on a screen, and can virtually re-create in-person meetings whether at home or in the office. (News programs have caught on.)
In Their Own Words: While Dixon admits that trade fairs likely aren’t going anywhere, he encourages designers to think outside of the box. “You have to have more inventive ways of reaching people right now,” Dixon tells Dezeen. “New formats will emerge that are more of a mix of digital and physical, because that’s the way the world is moving. Trade fairs are a huge burden in terms of time, energy, and money. They have been very useful to us, but you end up possibly preaching to the converted. The idea is to go beyond your comfort zone.”
Surface Says: For a sector that depends on being able to inhabit space, holograms may soon become the new normal for designers seeking to reach new markets without the burden of traveling.