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Create GB; Lee Broom

Brit design star talks all things Create GB...

Create GB; Lee Broom

We have such a strong history of tradition and also the most amazing street culture, and when those two mix, that's when you get this infamous British eclecticism...

Dubbed “the pin up of British manufacturing” by The Times back in 2009, this year’s Salone del Mobile – where he shipped a pub out to the iconic Milan design fair – marked the fifth anniversary of the Lee Broom brand. The boy done good, so they say. And good he has done: the former fashion student has lent his interior magic to all manner of restaurants, bars and shops; has won countless awards, and his furniture collections – including the much imitated Decanterlight – have become certifiable icons.

The designer’s work also has British design history at its core; “after meeting with so many talented crafts people for that collection and being exposed to lots of wonderful manufacturing techniques, it inspired me to create more pieces in Britain”, he told us in April, speaking of his famous Heritage Boy collection. And with his latest work, The Gold Room at Lancaster House hosting visiting business leaders during the Olympic games, Lee was understandably the perfect candidate for our Create GB project.

Create GB; Lee Broom
Create GB; Lee Broom

Where’s your hometown, and where are you based now?

I was born in Birmingham and grew up there but moved to London when I was 18. I consider London to be my home and also consider myself to be a Londoner. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

Do you think location affects creativity?

Absolutely. Creativity is a sensory thing, if you lock yourself in a darkened room with a pencil and paper I guarantee you’ll come up with nothing. My best ideas arrive when I’m busy running around the city, going out and meeting people.

How would you describe British creativity?

I would describe it as free. I feel very unrestricted in London and that nothing is off limits when it comes to creativity, and I think that’s infectious. We have such a strong history of tradition and also the most amazing street culture, and when those two mix, that’s when you get this infamous British eclecticism.

Create GB; Lee Broom
Create GB; Lee Broom

If we could replace the Queen on bank notes with one iconic British design, which would you choose?

I wouldn’t dare replace the Queen with anything else!

The Swinging ’60s, punk, Hacienda-era Manchester… is there one period of intense British creativity that you’d like to have been a part of, and why?

Punk I think, not so much for the music but for the look and the attitude.

Are there any quintessential British traditions that inform your work?

I love British pomp and ceremony, it’s ridiculous and wonderfully entertaining. I don’t believe I’m the only one either judging from how many British people got involved in The Queens Diamond Jubilee celebrations. I love to go to museums such as The British Library and the V&A if I want to get inspired, I could spend all day in a museum.

Create GB; Lee Broom
Create GB; Lee Broom

Where in Britain do you feel most inspired?

London for sure, I’m a city boy.

If you could collaborate with one GB creative, from any field, who would it be, and why?

Vivienne Westwood. I worked for her many years ago when I was an impressionable teenager and that experience helped shape me as a designer.

Will you be watching the Olympics?

Of course, I just saw the Opening Ceremony rehearsal actually which was incredible. I think it’s an amazing honour for London.

Create GB; Lee Broom
Create GB; Lee Broom

You couldn’t live without…

My partner.

What makes you smile?

Dogs in outfits.

Fish and chips, Cornish pasties… what’s your favourite British dish?

Roast dinner.

What’s next for you?

I have just curated a central room in Lancaster House called the Gold Room. Lancaster House is a building erected in the mid 1800s and a wonderfully opulent space where the British Business Embassy will host global influential business leaders during the Olympics.

I’m also gearing up for The London Design Festival where I shall be turning my studio into a Crystal Bulb Shop with saw dust floor, old counter top and a shop keeper. We are even going to have a good ol’ sing song round the piano for the opening party, a real British night out.

Create GB; Lee Broom
Create GB; Lee Broom
Create GB