Winner of the British Design Awards for three consecutive years and Designer of the Year in 2011, Lee Broom’s career has been nothing if not meteoric. Cherry-picked by Vivienne Westwood only days after winning his first design award – at the tender age of 17 - he went on to graduate in fashion from St Martin’s, supplementing his student income with a bar design consultancy.
Not that fashion or furniture had been his first choice of career. Broom was originally a member of The Royal Shakespeare Company – and the sense of drama and narrative in his work is a testament to this early influence. This allied with his strong design relationship with traditional materials and traditional crafts has led already to the production of some of the world’s most sumptuous and iconic designs.
Lee Broom is part of a fantastic new way of working – which is particularly strong in the UK – in which he designs, manufactures and retails his own work, often in collaboration with the likes of Heals and Phillips. He stormed the Milan Show in 2009, showing the Italians what for with his wonderful Public House, a stylish installation based on the old school, wood-panelled, traditional British pub.
Lee Broom’s achievements are astonishing. In a mere five years he has had five furniture exhibitions and five lighting exhibitions. He has designed over forty retail, restaurant and bar interiors; and he has won over twenty awards, with his work featuring in exhibitions all over world. The corporate boxes for the Wembley Stadium are Lee Broom designs; as is the flagship Coast store at 270, Oxford Road, London, and the Topman Personal Shopping Suite. His Crystal Bulb, a ceiling pendant of nostalgic elegance and timeless taste, which is hand-blown in Cumbria, features in the February 2013 edition of DecoNow.
A young man seriously in danger of over-achieving, here are a couple of things the press have said about him:
“Lee Broom is to furniture what Marc Jacobs or Tom Ford are to fashion” – The Guardian.
“The pin up of British manufacturing” – The Times.
Of himself, Broom has said:
“I enjoy the process of manufacturing in this country. It allows me to pay visits to the factory and to keep an eye on the fine detail – an important factor as my products can often be quite difficult to produce. Working as a young designer with established British companies can be a meeting of two very different minds, but it does provide opportunities to push at the boundaries of traditional techniques.”
Like his early mentor, Vivienne Westwood, Broom has mastered referencing the past while successfully avoiding getting stuck in it. He is a one of the brightest stars in the firmament, and we should all be very grateful to have him.