Lee Broom

Lee Broom is known as a maverick. The British designer of the Year 2011 has made a splash with interiors and designs in which he harks back to English heritage, fashion and
theatre.

Lee Broome. Fotocredits: James Stokes

Your
logo features a crown: Royal Broom!
‘I classify myself among those who like to
look at the past but are not living in it. What I make has to be touched by the
present. That’s why I love living in London, where I can scoop up age-old
British traditions as well as modern influences from all around the world.’

You ended up in the design world via a
detour.
‘When I was
a drama student I took part in a fashion competition. Vivienne Westwood was on
the jury. I asked her for her autograph, but she gave me her telephone number
instead. When I phoned, she offered me an internship. Those seven months were a
perfect learning experience. I absorbed a lot about the importance of attention
to detail and craftsmanship. Take upholstery: we’ve been doing that for so
long. It would be a shame to dismiss a technique like that as obsolete and lose
it. I think you can be modern without it looking like you’re designing for
Martians. I’d rather have people think, “Hey, I’ve seen that before, but not in
that way.”.’

When I look around here, it seems you’re
still a theatre animal.
‘Yeah, I like to put on a show. When I make a chair or a cupboard, I
see them as scenery elements in a theatrical atmosphere. For my first show in
Milan I imported an age-old British institution: the pub! A British experience,
but very tongue-in-cheek.’

Lee
Broom (b. 1975, Birmingham), www.leebroom.com