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Lee Broom

Issue 57 Oct / Nov 2010

With the launch of a new lighting collection, the opening of a new gallery space and a high profile commission in East London, 2010 has further cemented Lee Broom’s reputation as the UK’s fastest rising interior and product designer.

The commission - awarded by Studio East - is indicative of the high regard in which his work is held. Studio East - a cultural initiative set up by Westfield Stratford City - celebrates East London’s creative spirit by identifying emerging talent and providing bursaries for a series of commissions. Broom was shortlisted by a cultural panel of high profile names including artist Tracey Emin, designer Tom Dixon and retail guru Mary Portas.

Broom will now work with Westfield, the world’s largest listed retail property group, to create a pendant light installation that will play an integral part in the Westfield Stratford City shopping experience, which opens in 2011.

Tom Dixon was particularly impressed with Broom’s approach to design. “I like to see a new angle on our business – Lee Broom brings his entrepreneurial skill and theatrical perspective from fashion and slams it straight into the design business which is what give him his own unique vision.”

Indeed theatre and fashion were just two of the stops Broom has made as he blazes across the creative media. A glimpse at his CV reveals a thirst for culture and creativity. Enrolling in theatre school at age seven, he had a succession of roles in film, television and West End shows before joining the world-renowned Royal Shakespeare Company at age 16. A life in the theatre may have been calling, but Broom had other ideas. The following year he entered a fashion design competition organised by the BBC’s Clothes Show programme and won a week long stint at the studios of fashion designer Vivienne Westwood. This led to a six-month internship after which he decided to study women’s fashion at Central St Martin’s.

To subsidise his studies, Broom teamed up with fellow student Maki Aoki to create drapes and blackout blinds for small independent bars. By the time the pair graduated, this had evolved into a fully fledged bar design consultancy. Commissions have included big name UK establishements Nylon in London, Lost Society in Clapham and The Valmont Club in Chelsea. Working on these projects as well as on Executive Boxes for Wembley and the Emirates Stadium led to another creative segue, this time into furniture design.

Previous collections have incorporated light to dramatic effect: 2007’s Neo Neon range juxtaposed neon lighting with tradition furnishings and 2008’s Rough Diamond rejeuvinated vintage furntire with embedded light elements.

This year Broom returned to London Design Week with One Light Only, a series of pendant lights inspired by Art Deco jewellery and fashion photography of the late ‘70s. It is, he says, a departure from his previous work. “With OLO I’ve taken a different design approach; I wanted to create a range which was particularly accessible and affordable ... perhaps not such an arts and crafts approach where the collections I’ve created feature significant investment pieces. OLO is more of an accessories collection inspired by my fashion background and presents a striking lighting solution.”


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