At this year’s Salone, British designer Lee Broom unveiled the results of many months of hard work with the launch of over 20 new pieces of furniture, lighting and accessories, making it the London studio’s largest collection to date. To showcase the new works, Broom and his team have commandeered a row of disused shops on Milan’s via Alfredo Cappellini where the collection is displayed across two floors in a series of theatrical vignettes designed to resemble a department store layout.
In a show that draws on the designer’s background in theater and fashion design, visitors are led through 12 departments all decked out in Broom’s trademark grey so as to let the products take centre stage. From a perfumery to ladies accessories, a gents fitting room through to a book store and haberdashery, Brooms department store experience winds up in a stock room, where a selection of pieces from the studio’s back catalogue are on display. "I wanted to explore all of the things that inspire me right now," says Broom of the new offerings, before going on to list a just a few examples, "vivid colors, pop and craft culture, techniques from the past and shapes from the future."
Sculptural pieces such as the Hanging Hoop chair and Chapel chair are a beautiful exercise in minimalism and reduction, while the stained glass Chapel light and ornate new Carpetry pieces showcase the designer’s continued appreciation for craft traditions and techniques. Blurring the boundaries between art and design further (with a slight Memphis bent), Broom’s more abstract introductions such as the Split mirror, Crescent light, Drunken side table and Drunken table lamp play with balance and distortion; and a new line of glassware with solid spun brass bases echo materials and forms found elsewhere in the collection such as the polished brass spheres of the Ring lights, or the stacked shapes used to form the totemlike Fulcrum candlesticks.
With the majority of pieces going into immediate production and uniformed staff on hand to answer any questions, Lee Broom’s slick Department Store perfectly balances creativity with commerciality making it one of the most memorable presentations of the 2015 Salone.