Award-winning London-based designer Lee Broom brings in both touches of drama and theatre inspired panache in his products. From cut-glass light bulbs to furniture upholstered with carpet, there’s something unusual and intriguing about his work.
The New York Times described his work as “Design with a Bit of Drama”. Award-winning London-based designer Lee Broom agrees and calls his work “theatrical”. The drama is evident in every aspect of his work – whether it is hoop-shaped furniture, bevelled light bulbs or interiors that range from period to contemporary.
Broom has his dramatic leanings honed in theatre school, a career that got diverted when he won a fashion design competition at age 17. This led to a stint with legendary British designer Vivienne Westwood and a degree in fashion from Central St Martins. During his studies, he worked on several décor-related projects in London which led to a seamless segue into the field. The sense of elegance and unexpected drama carries over from his years in fashion.
In 2007 the Lee Broom label was launched with his first furniture collection titled ‘Neo Neon’ where neon edged tables and chairs took seating to another level altogether. The Electric Louis chair, hand carved and edged with neon has become especially popular.
The Heritage Boy collection (2010) took inspiration from Persian rugs with the traditional motifs showing up in unexpected pieces and in modern colours. The carpetry was executed in the UK using traditional Wilton looms. The collection includes a sideboard, table, beautiful tile lamps and pendant lights with the carpetry showing up in the inside of the lampshades.
The 2011 Salon Collection had six furniture pieces inspired by the curvaceous lines of the 1930s upholstery. Shiny exaggerated stud details punctuate the edges of chairs and ottomans elevating it to “punk couture”.
One of Broom’s most innovative and charming designs is his Decanter lights. Created out of crystal decanters sourced from antique markets and Ebay, these beautiful and old-fashioned glass containers are now dazzling sources of light and definite conversation starters.
The Decanter lights come as chandeliers and table lamps. Due to the scarcity of original crystal decanters, the Lee Broom studio now manufactures their own hand-crafted glass decanters in various shapes. Broom’s Crystal Bulbs are another exciting innovation. An elegant departure from regular light bulbs, these carved bulbs bring a sense of poetry to your light source.
Even stand-alone, these look magical and ornamental. The Crystal tube light is a length of hand-cut lead crystal with an LED light – a welcome change from the not-so-pretty fluorescent lights that are standard in our homes. Many of these lights (and some of Broom’s furniture) are an integral part of London’s Coquine restaurant, which Broom designed.
Broom took his Nouveau Rebel collection to the London Design Festival 2014 where several new pieces were showcased. The Carrera marble pieces have “a slight 80s nod to them” and look familiar yet new. The Globe light has a marble base and a glass dome on top; the marble tube light is unlike anything you’ve seen before; the Chamber lights have a lead crystal vessel with a marble diffuser inside.
The intriguing Acid marble collection (console table, coffee table and lamp made from black and white marble with acid yellow tinted glass) is certainly different, as is fun furniture like the Drunken Side Table which is actually pretty sculptural to look at. These are all under production and will be available late 2015/early 2016.
The Hanging Hoop Chair reminds me of a lady’s earrings, with its round shape and suspended seat. The series also has a dining chair in brass or black. Apart from furniture and lighting, Broom continues to design interiors to much praise.
One of his acclaimed designs is the Old Tom & English, a reservation only restaurant in London’s Soho. The drama of Broom’s design continues here with a doorbell and a hidden hatch that gets you in to the bar, lounge or five “personal cloisters”.
In a perfect blend of fashion and interiors, Christian Louboutin commissioned Broom to design his new store set in the eveningwear department at Harrods, London. Louboutin’s signature red colour features prominently among Broom’s products and the iconic London imagery makes the space a glamorous one that matches its famous surroundings.
In 2014, Lee Broom also designed a suite at the Thief hotel in Oslo, Norway. The Broom Suite is another one in the hotel’s designer suites and has all his major pieces including the Salon chairs and the Crystal chandeliers.
Broom’s products are now sold in over 40 countries with plans to expand to more. He has received over 20 awards including British Designer of the Year 2012 and the Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2015 for “achieving significant international growth and increased export figures”. The red carpet continues to be rolled out for the former theatre student. The bouquets and applause are well deserved.
Text By Chryselle D’Silva Dias
Photographs Courtesy The Designer