HALF CUT: The Exclusive New Collection from Lee Broom
Tuesday night saw our Heritage Suite transformed into a light-filled salon – the perfect setting to celebrate the launch of interior designer Lee Broom‘s new glassware collection, aptly named ‘Half Cut‘.
Famed for his innovative and unexpected product designs, Lee has launched five furniture and lighting collections, designed interiors for over 40 bars and restaurants and won 20 awards, of which one was the ELLE Decoration British Design Award for his Crystal Bulb in October 2012. The Half Cut collection, available exclusively here in store at Liberty, features discarded cut crystal stoppers left over from vintage decanters, which Lee has used to create stunning martini, wine and champagne glasses.
We caught up with Lee Broom below to discover his inspiration behind the collection, why his designs are such a success and what he’ll be sipping on over the party season…
You originally studied fashion at Central Saint Martins and have worked with the likes of Vivienne Westwood, what inspired you to shift from a focus on fashion to interior design?
Design was initially a means of supporting myself whilst at Central Saint Martins studying fashion. I was working for a bar group which had multiple venues across London and I was helping with interiors, making curtains, mirror frames and customising old furniture for them. Just before I graduated they gave me the opportunity to create an entire concept from scratch for a bar they were opening called Nylon. I worked on it for 9 months, it was a huge project with an even bigger budget. Once opened it became very well known and I was offered more work in interiors so fashion increasingly took back seat. I then set up my own company.
What was the inspiration behind this exclusive new glassware collection?
I had created a lighting collection a couple of years ago called Decanterlight using vintage crystal drinks decanters to create a pendant light. The lights are incredibly popular and as we continue to source the decanters at various markets around London we have collected quite a few stoppers over the past two years which have been collecting dust in a warehouse in South London. I always knew I would do something with them, they are too special to simply throw away.
I work a lot with crystal and recently released a product called the Crystal Bulb so it seemed like a natural progression to create a glassware range and incorporating the decanter stoppers. We cut the bottoms off the stoppers, polish them and then hand blow the vessel which is then fused to the stopper and etched with my crest underneath. All of this is done by hand and as each stopper is vintage, every glass is entirely unique.
You have won 20 awards, including ‘Designer of the Year’ at the British Design Awards in 2011, and have been dubbed ‘the pin-up for British Manufacturing’ by The Times. Why do you think your designs are so popular, is there a secret to your success?
For me, its important to be true myself and not necessarily what you think other people expect. I think people tend to like my work because there is a point of difference, something they have seen before and something unexpected. I like the element of surprise and people who like my work seem to like that too.
Having collaborated with over 12 different brands, which project did you enjoy working on the most?
I don’t have any favourites. The project I am working on at the moment is always the favourite.
Which is your favourite room in Liberty?
The fourth floor. As an aspiring designer this was always the place I would go to see new collections and simply browse. It has always had such a brilliant edit of pieces and has never been afraid to take risks. Very inspiring.
And finally, martini, wine or champagne?
Champagne of course!