“I don’t like to try and do something bigger and bigger every single year, I like the idea of creating something large one year, and then creating something more boutique the next.” Lee Broom
Lee Broom is one of the UK’s leading product & interior designers. Since 2007 he has released over 75 furniture and lighting products, which he designs and manufactures under his own label and has created more than 20 products for other brands. He has also designed over 40 commercial retail, restaurant, bar and residential interiors.
THC: What inspires you and why?
LB: Inspirations tend to come from anywhere, especially when living in a city such as London. However a great source of inspiration comes from various galleries, exhibitions or fashion magazines. My most recent collections have explored many of my inspirations the things that inspire me right now; new materials, vivid colours, pop culture, craft culture, techniques from the past and shapes from the future.
THC: How did you get into your business?
LB: I studied fashion design at Central Saint Martins which I loved. My plan became to start my own clothing line once I had graduated however living and studying in London is expensive and so to support myself I would go around to bars and clubs and ask them if they needed any decor advice. I used to make mirror frames and curtains and upholstery and this soon turned into a little business.
I was then asked to design a venue from scratch and work with architects on a 9 month long project with a sizeable budget. The venue called ‘Nylon’ opened and became a big success so from this I was offered a lot more work. I set up a business with my friend, Maki, and we ran an interiors company for a few years called Makilee Design. However, I had always had plans to work for myself whether in fashion or interiors so in 2007, after Maki decided to move to Japan, I launched Lee Broom with a furniture and lighting collection.
I have always wanted to work for myself whether it be in fashion or product design. The motivation was less about the type of design but more about who I was doing it for. I also liked the idea of creating a brand rather than being just a lone designer which means I can create experiences and lifestyle choices for people around my products. The other motivation is that I have always had lots of ideas and I enjoy the process of turning those ideas into reality.
THC: What are you working on right now?
LB: I am currently working on my new collection for Milan 2016. This collection will be much smaller than my collection launched last year in Milan, The Department Store and will be a smaller installation but will hopefully have the same impact as the Department store. I don’t like to try and do something bigger and bigger every single year, I like the idea of creating something large one year, and then creating something more boutique the next. We also have a number of interiors projects that we are working on both commercial and residential.
THC: How do you see your space evolving?
LB: I’m very proud of our store in Shoreditch as it’s a real showcase. There is still a lot more I want to do, I feel like it’s only the beginning. I would love to open another store in a different country.
THC: Who’s your hero or icon?
LB: When I was growing up I was obsessed with fashion designers such as John Galliano, Gianni Versace and Vivienne Westwood.
THC: Where’s your favourite spot around the world?
LB: London, New York, LA and Hong Kong.
THC: What’s your favourite injection of culture into a brand?