It’s Lee Broom’s first time at the Interior Design Show in Toronto, and he’s being whisked from morning show to media Q&A to the main stage. But it’s also his first time in Canada, and he’s not about to spend all of it in a convention center.
He’s dined at Café Boulud (beautiful interior) and Fring’s (did not see Drake), and has plans to stroll down Queen West and visit Niagara Falls. During an hour break between interviews, he went to the top of the CN Tower. “I know it’s a bit of a cheesy, touristy thing to do, but I really like to see cities from above high to get the full scope,” says Broom. “I love cities, I’m a city boy at heart.”
Broom is from London, if the British charm and slight Cockney accent don’t ooze through his quotes and give it away. At 39, he looks 10 years younger. A tiny pink scar extending from his right eyebrow—accrued while vacationing in Mexico two weeks prior—stands out against a backdrop of actor-perfect skin and sculpted hair.
Last year was a big one for Broom, having launched a 25-piece collection—his largest yet—in Milan. He transformed his own Shoreditch flagship into a flower shop to launch his collection of vases, appeared on the covers of various design and business magazines, and sat down for drinks with Queen Elizabeth and a laundry list of other royals at Buckingham Palace after receiving The Queen’s Award for Enterprise, the United Kingdom’s highest business honour. “It was incredible. Last year was full of those [experiences],” he says. “But there’s always more to do. I like to get things done, I don’t like to procrastinate on projects. I just want to get them moving and move onto the next thing.”
“On to the next thing” seems to be Broom’s modus operandi. His background is in theatre, and he performed in the Royal Shakespeare Company as a young teen. He then changed his course to fashion design after winning a competition at 17, worked for designer Vivienne Westwood, and attended Central Saint Martins. While studying, he started dabbling in bar interiors—a mirror frame here, a bit of upholstery there—and was offered to design an independent bar from scratch. It won awards, and “the rest is history,” he says.
Now, Broom is interested in exploring technology and fashion accessories as an extracurricular—he’s collaborated with designers including Christian Louboutin and Matthew Williamson, and created a limited-edition desert boot for Clarks last year. “I just basically designed them for myself,” he says with a laugh, miming its leather strap and quilted detailing on his own shoe.
Broom’s current collection, a pastiche of sleek marble lighting fixtures, geometric side tables, and gravity-defying furniture, is equal parts fashion and theatre. The Hanging Hoop Chair—a swing upholstered in Louboutin-red wool perched on a hanging gold or black hoop—looks like a prop straight out of a Sofia Coppola film. (It also hangs in Broom’s home.) “They do command a certain attention when you walk into a room,” he says. “I think it’s just in me to see everything like a performance.”
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