A native of Rosemont, Pennsylvania, Joe Dillon excels at building things and fixing mechanical things. He is interested in architecture and was making custom furniture and contracting interior design in his teens. These naturally honed skills aided his career in industrial design creating and importing manual and powered wheelchairs in the United States, Europe and Asia.
“I’m currently making furniture that is powered by hot water solar panels. The materials used are mostly salvaged steel--copper, stainless steel and mild carbon steel which is heated by hot water from solar panels. The panels are cutting-edge evacuated 5-foot glass tubes mounted in groups of 25 in stainless steel manifolds. These beautiful ready-mades can be installed as secondary outdoor art pieces or mounted traditionally on roofs.”
Dillon built his studio by improving and expanding a 1950s passive solar house modeled after Mies Van Der Rohe’s Farnsworth House. During the 1970s the structure had a 12’ x 50’ active solar panel added to the roof. When it was purchased by the artist in 1995, he added modern day ‘green’ studio additions and the water from the solar panel was rerouted to many innovative hydronic installations including the metal furniture pieces as stated above.
Dillon’s passion for the environment evolved from the time he was twelve and moved onto the street where his current studio is located. He watched this solar house evolve for nearly three decades. “My art has been the culmination of the organic development of this site,” he says.
Dillon began university studying Mechanical Engineering at Drexel, then earned a degree in Finance at The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania. He worked in publishing for three years at Fortune magazine in New York City then at BusinessWeek. He was the Editor in Chief of Office Relocation magazine covering the largest achitecture firms in the world.