Ever the showman, Lee Broom’s London Design Festival invitation dropped onto the i-D doormat last week with quite the THUD. Peeling back the envelope we discovered an invitation to a very exciting trip through the keyhole!
The master of magical transformations, for this year’s LDF Lee’s Shoreditch Studio has become home to his Salon collection. With i-D amongst the lucky few who had been awarded keys in through the door, we popped along to Rivington Street to see what delights lay in store.
With Lee’s extensive fashion background (a long-time i-D fan and a degree from CSM under his belt), it’s always sensible to expect a spot of razzle dazzle and the new collection doesn’t disappoint. In his first foray into upholstery, he takes a nod from 30s design trends for a series of sofas, arm-chairs, drum seats and footstools. Ever the un-conventionalist each piece is adorned with some serious studding, hitting a climax on the leather footstool which is complete with more than 800 hand-finished studs and a spit-polished ‘Made in Britain’ Broom stamp of approval. The first people to potter around around Lee’s new pad i-D online pitched a couple of quick questions…
Once again you’ve completely transformed your studio, it’s flipped from your design space to a boudoir in a matter of days. Can you tell us a bit about the process… The luxury of having your own space means that you can do that. Particularly for people who came here last year; we wanted them to understand that we were doing something totally new and different.
It’s a very different collection to those we’ve seen from you before, along with the studio transformation is the plan to completely regenerate season after season? I do like to change things, only because I get bored doing the same thing. The fact that I hadn’t done upholstery before meant I was like, ‘I should definitely do that’, making life more interesting for me, my team and people who like my furniture, eventually people can have an entire room set full of my stuff! It was about trying to do something very clean, a little nod to history and making upholstery a little more edgy and a bit of a twisted surreal feel to it.
Your relationship with your studio can be compared to a fashion designer’s atelier in that you’re constantly redeveloping season after season… Certainly one of the key things I learnt from studying fashion at Saint Martins was how to think like a designer and you can apply those same rules to any medium; research, prototype and final product. Whether it’s a garment or a piece of furniture. And with regards to changing with each collection it’s probably not a conscious thing but it’s something that was instilled in me in fashion school about needing to evolve with each season. But then there is an overarching thread. There are a lot of designers who master a specific aspect and then just keep at it and there’s nothing wrong with that, I just think i’d find it boring.
Where do you picture the Salon collection ‘sitting’… There were certain pieces that I did see in certain spaces, the sofas in particular for people’s homes and for retail, the chairs for restaurant projects, the small drum seats in bars. And I’ll undoubtedly be using several of the pieces in some of the design projects that I have coming up.
For information on when you can pop by and visit Lee’s Salon collection, head here.
Text: Sean Baker