Lee Broom debuts a transcendent new lighting collection.
Part of Lee Broom's 'Divine Inspiration' collection, the Alter pendant lights are the result of the designer's exploration of the angular forms of Midcentury churches and altars.
Okay, so maybe I'm being a little dramatic when I say that designer Lee Broom’s new lighting collection, ‘Divine Inspiration’ made me cry… But I definitely teared up while viewing it at this year’s Milan Design Week. Maybe it was the church-like setting tapping into my Catholic-lite upbringing, maybe it was the dramatic organ music being pumped throughout the building, or maybe it was the jet lag, but something—combined with Broom’s stunning debut—stirred up some emotion in me.
Marking the brand’s 15-year anniversary, the collection, titled, ‘Divine Inspiration’ is the first lighting release for Lee Broom in four years. Comprising six new designs that can be configured into 30 luminaires, the collection is a study in materials—carved oak, extruded aluminum, plaster, and Jesmonite—and a blurring of the lines between design and art.
Panthemu is inspired by the coffered concrete ceiling in Rome's famous ancient temple, The Pantheon, as well as the geometry of Brutalist architecture.
Inspired by Brutalist architecture, as well as the design of religious buildings, Broom’s pieces embrace geometric lines, the glass brick windows of 1970s postmodern churches, and details found in Rome’s historic Pantheon. Part of the presentation includes an ethereal series of limited-edition pieces sculpted by Broom’s own hand in his London factory.
“When initially designing this collection which celebrates 15 years, I decided to look back at some of the things that inspired me to be a designer in the first place,” Broom says. “So, I began looking at the Brutalist architecture I grew up with as a child, a period of architecture that I love. Delving deeper my attention became engaged with brutalist places of worship. This led me on a fascinating journey to researching cathedrals, temples, and churches from antiquity to mid-century, to the present day.”
Lighting designer Lee Broom with the Hail installation at Milan Design Week.
In Milan, Broom took over an entire building in the city’s Brera neighborhood, installing more than 100 luminaries throughout. Walking in, visitors are first struck with an installation of tile-like Pantheum lights, uniform rows running up a wall and onto the ceiling to create a gorgeously illuminated grid. A large-scale stone urn designed by Frank Lloyd Wright sits beneath, hinting at the grandiosity and mysticism of the rest of the collection. In the next room, which emulates a spartan chapel (a few benches, no adornment), a 40-foot-long installation of Hail lights hangs above a mirror—the reflection seems to stretch on forever, giving the work an otherworldly quality.
The ghostly forms of Broom's Requiem lights take cues from the marble drapery on ancient statues and sepulchral sculptures.
Four limited-edition Requiem lights are sublime pieces of show-finishing art. Created by dipping fabric into plaster and sculpting it around illuminated rings, tubes, or spheres, the works will be produced in runs of 15. The forms are reminiscent of draped fabric or the folds in Biblical robes, and Broom expertly captures the pliability and softness of textile, while retaining the rigidity and strength needed to support the lighting elements.
“I wanted to create a lighting collection that invoked that same sense of awe and mysticism as those [church] buildings and their interiors,” Broom notes. “This is not a religious collection, but a reflection on the impact religious architecture, interiors, and artifacts have had on the psyche as well as the history of art and architecture.”
Religious or not, there is no denying that Broom’s latest showing is a testament to the power of good design.