The theatrical world of Lee Broom is celebrated in a new book

Lee Broom: Fashioning Design, published by Rizzoli, charts the designer’s 15 years in the industry, through dramatic photography alongside contributions by Kelly Wearstler, Stephen Jones and more

Lee Broom book spread with red background
(Image credit: Courtesy Lee Broom and Rizzoli)

In the 15 years since launching his studio and eponymous brand, British designer Lee Broom has got us used to larger than life theatrical presentations and product compositions inspired by history and fashion. 

Broom now celebrates his studio and brand with a new tome, Lee Broom: Fashioning Design. Published by Rizzoli, the book charts his career influences using his background in fashion and theatre as the starting point. 

Lee Broom: Fashioning Design book cover

The book's front cover, featuring Broom's ‘Hanging Hoop’ chair, 2015. 'I have a special love for my “Hanging Hoop” chair,' says Broom. 'I always tend to tap into the midcentury for inspiration and this particular piece does that. It became famous after Beyoncé used it in her film Black is King, and it has been used in interiors all over the world. That's why I decided to put it on the front cover of the book.'

(Image credit: Courtesy Lee Broom and Rizzoli)

'For any designer, the point at which they release a monograph is a very special one, a milestone of sorts,' says Broom. 'Most creative people will tell you they don't look back on their older work; we are so focused on creating now and what we plan to create for the future. So when you are forced to look back it can almost be a cathartic experience. I was surprised how different I am as a designer now in comparison to when I started, and I am more conscious of the journey I have been on and how my work has evolved.'

Lee Broom: Fashioning Design

Lee Broom carousel at Fuorisalone

Lee Broom's ‘Time Machine’ exhibition at Fuorisalone 2017

(Image credit: Luke Hayes)

Written by Becky Sunshine, the book opens with a foreword by milliner Stephen Jones and further contributions by Kelly Wearstler, Christian Louboutin and Vivienne Westwood (the last being an early mentor of Broom, when he started his career in fashion).

‘I consider myself a storyteller and have always designed emotionally since my time in fashion,’ says Broom. ‘It’s visceral, but balanced with a focus on materiality, form, and function. It is also about the double meaning in my designs and the reinvention of what is familiar to create newness. The idea is of almost fashioning design and evolving what exists already into something new and unexpected.’

Lee Broom book spread

(Image credit: Courtsey Lee Broom and Rizzoli)

The book is divided into four thematic sections, each exploring an aspect of Broom’s universe. ‘Art Form’ looks at Broom’s relationship with architecture and the compositions he favours throughout his work. ‘History Repeats Itself’ is an overview of the designer’s fascination with history and his penchant for looking at ancient techniques and styles. Exploring his approach to materials and techniques, ‘Material Boy’ is an overview of experiments and collaboration. And finally, ‘Drama of Design’ delves into Broom’s theatre experience and how that informed his particular affinity for the dramatic presentations that offer an immersive experience to visitors approaching his work. 

'I was very young when I was a child actor and performing in the theatre, so that idea of seeing my work as a performance is sort of instilled in me, it's part of my DNA,' he says. 'Then fashion was my education, so to this day the discipline that I apply to my product design all stems from that training. I don't purposefully channel these two disciplines, it is just part of my being.'

Lee Broom book spread

(Image credit: Courtesy Lee Broom and Rizzoli)

Broom's latest collection, launched at Fuorisalone 2022 and titled ‘Divine Inspiration’, was a great example of his work's theatricality. Developed over several rooms, the collection's display was inspired by spiritual spaces and offered a multisensory experience through sound and scent. 'I don't see why a display of furniture and lighting cannot evoke the same emotions one might feel when looking at a piece of art or seeing a theatrical performance. I like to play with those concepts in my shows. The product however is the star and that is what our main focus is always applied to. '

‘Ultimately, what Lee designs is not just a lamp or just a chair, but an object created with a unique character of its own,’ writes Jones. ‘Each of the pieces he designs are almost like his children, gently nurtured and formed, carefully considered and constructed with precision but then let go to do their own thing in the world.’

Lee Broom: Fashioning Design is published on 15 November 2022 by Rizzoli

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Lights in Lee Broom book

‘Crescent’ lights, 2015

(Image credit: Courtesy Lee Broom and Rizzoli)

Lee Broom book

‘Orion’ globe and tube Lights, 2018

(Image credit: Courtesy Lee Broom and Rizzoli)

Lamps inside lorry styled like a house interior in Lee Broom book

Broom's Salone del Automobile, 2016

(Image credit: Courtesy Lee Broom and Rizzoli)

Lighting installation inside Lee Broom book

‘Kaleidoscopia’, London Design Festival 2019

(Image credit: Luke Hayes, Courtesy Lee Broom and Rizzoli)

Striped ceramics in Lee Broom book

(Image credit: Courtesy Lee Broom and Rizzoli)

Crystal light bulb from Lee Broom book

Clear ‘Crystal Bulb Pendant’ light, 2012

(Image credit: Courtesy Lee Broom and Rizzoli)

Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.