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Courtesy of Modern Society.
Courtesy of Modern Society.
"Orion Gold Multiple Mix" lighting piece; Courtesy of Lee Broom.
Francesca Mey Photography
Courtesy of OFFICINE904.
Complemented by a charming café, Modern Society is a destination store bringing a selection of luxury products from all over the world to London before anyone else.

Lee Broom Is Practicing Gratefulness

By Eliza Jordan

June 1, 2020

A few weeks ago, when stay-at-home orders were still quite strong, we heard from the London-based lighting designer Lee Broom. At home, he was catching up on movies that emphasized costume design, reading a book on architecture, and pondering his upcoming monograph.

Whitewall spoke with Broom to hear more about what he’s working on now, and what surprised him about working in isolation.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Modern Society.

WHITEWALL: How are you doing?

LEE BROOM: To be honest, I’m actually okay. And after six weeks of staying home, I feel I have adapted very quickly to this new way of being. I’m lucky in that I often work from home, particularly when I am designing, and I am very used to working on my own.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Modern Society.

Without question, the situation across the world is terrifying, and if you had told me three months ago what was about to occur, I would have completely panicked—worrying about family, friends, loved ones, and of course my business. So, I decided to simply take each day as it comes; to be in the present moment and recognize you have all the resource and the know-how to cope with difficult situations as they happen, rather than project your mind into the future and create panic and fear.

WW: What are you listening to, reading, watching, or listening to?

Open Gallery

"Orion Gold Multiple Mix" lighting piece; Courtesy of Lee Broom.

LB: I’m reading A History of Architecture in 100 Buildings by Dan Cruickshank. I am not keen on reading fiction, and I have a short attention span when reading, so this book is ideal with a new building every few pages. It is a perfect intro into the history of architecture covering some very acclaimed, and some less obvious and surprising buildings.

I am also watching Mrs. America starring Cate Blanchett. It’s a part of American history I had little knowledge of, and the styling is just superb. Having studied and worked in fashion before becoming a product designer, I am always drawn toward films or TV shows that have an emphasis on costume and art direction.

Open Gallery

Francesca Mey Photography

WW: Are you cooking anything of note?

LB: I am a hopeless cook. I had a stab at making bread whilst in lockdown and royally screwed it up, so I won’t be repeating that exercise again any time soon. I do, however, know how to make a mean cocktail, so my domestic role in the household is not redundant. Favorites are a classic gin martini, an Eastern standard, or an old fashioned.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of OFFICINE904.

WW: How are you staying connected?

LB: The team is all working from home, so there are a lot of Zoom calls, and same with friends and family. Thank goodness for modern technology. I can’t imagine how difficult this would all be without it. To a certain degree, I have been connecting a lot more with friends and family, and have more conversations over the phone, which I rarely did before now. We have all found ways to stay more connected and I hope this stays with us beyond COVID-19.

WW: How are you staying creative? Are you able to make work at this time?

LB: I have certainly had a lot more time to create. I decided that I wanted to use this time to get something done that has been on my list for a long time but never got any attention. So, I started to work on a book, something I’ve been wanting to do for many years.

For a designer, a monograph is all about your past work and your design ethos. This means a lot of looking back, something I am not entirely used to doing being so focused on new projects all the time. This unique period in a sense has been a perfect time to look back and reflect so that’s what I did. It’s been a cathartic experience.

WW: Where are you finding hope or inspiration?

LB: Something good always comes out of a bad situation, even if it is only minor, and focusing on any positive changes that could occur as a result of the past few months is essential. One thing for me is that I have always worked at full speed and have never been a position where there has been a mandatory slow down. I am still working, as is my team. We are being productive and being creative, but what I have noticed is how much we are getting done very effectively.

Having more moments to simply take a breath has allowed to us to work smarter rather than harder. I had never imagined any other way of doing this and it is somewhat of a revelation. I speak with friends and colleagues and they also say the same thing. So, if I could see a positive from this to carry forward, I would say it is to stop for a moment and appreciate where you are. Take your foot off the pedal just slightly and it will still get done.

designLee Broomlighting design


Design |January 21, 2021

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