Lee Broom’s career began at age seven. The motivation to succeed and dedicated to his craft is something that travelled with Lee across multiple career paths in the decades that ensued. A dalliance in the fashion industry saw Lee intern with Vivienne Westwood for ten months before studying at the famed Central Saint Martins in London. At the end of his degree, the plan remained to begin a fashion label and continue to pursue that industry.
Fate, however, had another plan in mind. Lee and a friend began an interiors company – initially to fund the fashion company Lee, at this stage, was still planning to build. But years later when his business partner moved, Lee began his eponymous lighting, furniture and design company: Lee Broom. For the first years, the company had toes in both camps: interior design and product design. Initially, it was the interior design that was supporting his passion for lighting and product design, but soon the balance began to sway; fast forward a decade and Lee Broom is celebrated as one of United Kingdom’s most successful, theatrical, and respected, lighting designers.
Lee Broom is celebrated as one of United Kingdom’s most successful, theatrical, and respected, lighting designers.
Lee is currently on a whirlwind tour of the Indo Pacific with Space Furniture, his exclusive retailer in Australia, touching down in Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand. The idea to do something on Australian shores came after Salone del Mobile in 2018, Lee followed the fair with a tour of nine states in America meeting the people who were representing his brand and educating them about his then latest collection, Observatory, which launched in Milan.
Having had such a positive experience in the U.S. he wanted to repeat the experience in 2019 and Australia seemed the natural succession. It’s not Lee’s first time in Australia, he was here in 2012 as a keynote speaker for Melbourne Design Week. “That trip spurned a really fruitful relationship with Australia and my products here,” he says. “Within a year after that visit Australia became my third biggest market and it has continued to be so.”
And so 2019 marks Lee Broom’s second visit to Australia, and the Park Life installation sees it become an unforgettable moment in time for all.
Park Life draws on the very British history of the Pleasure Garden, at its most popular in the 18th century.
Conceptually, Park Life draws on the very British history of the Pleasure Garden, at its most popular in the 18th century. According to Lee, they were typically places for the aristocracy and the middle class to see music, art, fashion and dine and drink. Like an architectural display, they were designed with miniature waterways, mazes and pagodas. Although it was a period of high culture they became infamous for facilitating debauchery.
With an interest in art history, Lee draws parallels with the paintings of that epoch and the present day. “Everything in that period was about presenting your best self. Yourself playing at a Pleasure Garden, or yourself playing an instrument or reading a book, or having things that you created around you,” he says. “It reminds me of the period that we’re in right now, except in this case we’re using social media to present our very best selves.”
A maze layout allows the visitor to go on a journey from beginning to end and enjoy distinct vignettes that highlight different pieces from the Lee Broom collections over the years.
Practically speaking the concept is equally as strong. A maze layout allows the visitor to go on a journey from beginning to end and enjoy distinct vignettes that highlight different pieces from the Lee Broom collections over the years without needing to align them in style or atmosphere. “There are bright parts and there are dimmer parts – and it’s quite poetic,” says Lee.
Not only does Lee look up to and admire the pieces that his lighting designs sit alongside in the Space Furniture showrooms, content that they showcase the beauty of the design and attention to detail, but it’s also a company he can collaborate with, one that will get on board with his theatrics – if not admirable eccentricities.
Photography by Craig Wall
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