The Dixon is the latest opening in the prestigious Autograph Collection Hotel Group, and it certainly lives up to expectations. Last Thursday, we made our way to The Dixon for a very special evening celebrating the art of set design. ‘Behind the Scenes’ was an intimate panel discussion with some of Britain’s most prominent set designers, hosted by no less than acclaimed film critic, Mark Kermode.
Located in the midst of Tower Bridge’s buzzy cultural scene, The Dixon occupies a former Magistrate’s Court and the very definition of a ‘boutique hotel’. Handsome wood panelled interiors, a myriad of contemporary art on the walls, and a breathtaking entrance hall — give The Dixon instant impact, balancing references from both past and present. Originally designed by John Dixon Butler, (from whom The Dixon coins its name) this hotel exemplifies the impeccable standards of The Autograph Collection, while also being effortlessly unique.
One of The Dixon’s core philosophies is to ‘represent the finest local talent, from emerging artists to established producers’ — and so it makes sense that this beautiful hotel is hosting Behind the Scenes. Part of the hotel’s Indie Film Project, a multi-faceted program that celebrates the craft of filmmaking in support of local film makers, Behind the Scenes is in itself a celebration of individuality. The panel was composed of John Paul Kelly, Michael Carlin, and Gemma Jackson, whose collective credits include, The Theory of Everything, Game of Thrones, Colette, Stan & Ollie, and Aladdin. During the discussion, Mark Kermode talked about where the process of world-building jumps off from, the challenges faced by a production designer, and their authorial role in weaving the narrative of a film. They also discussed some key tips for aspiring production designers, of which the most memorable was, to take every opportunity to cultivate the spark, and keep the passion that drives you during late nights.
The most memorable thing we took away from this inspiring panel discussion is that, ‘great set design should go unnoticed’ , which may seem paradoxical, but actually makes complete sense. It is the production designer’s job to create worlds we can escape to, and the best ones will do it without you noticing. In the same way, hoteliers are also tasked with the job of creating a sense of escapism, a sense of departure from our day-to-day. Whether that be through the room’s interior design, excellent customer service, or an extra-indulgent breakfast, it is a wonderfully whimsical quality that The Dixon has in spades.