A weightless, fragile drapery that meanders mid-air to seize a levitating light source. On a closer look, the drapery is solid with white plaster deceiving your eyes into trusting its faux fluidity. Hard to believe? Widening the horizons of material experimentation and exploring the juxtaposition of art, architecture and design, British interior designer Lee Broom crafts Requiem, an ethereal collection in white plaster reminiscent of marble drapery on ancient statues and sepulchral sculptures. Presented as part of the Divine Inspiration exhibition by Lee Broom’s eponymous lighting, furniture and interior design brand at Milan Design Week 2022, the series encompasses four limited edition Requiem designs. “I wanted to create a lighting collection that invoked that same sense of awe and mysticism as those buildings and their interiors,” says Lee Broom. “This is not a religious collection, but a reflection on the impact religious architecture, interiors and artefacts have had on the psyche as well as the history of art and architecture,” he adds.
The collection signifies and features a new chapter for the designer. Each piece is meticulously sculpted by Broom in his London factory. Unveiled in an ambience channelling Brutalist architecture and places of worship, every design is an epitome of craftsmanship and a rare tryst of visual lightness and tactical solidity. Made by hand-draping fabrics dipped in plaster through and around illuminated rings, tubes or spheres, the lighting designs, albeit sturdy, emanate a celestial weightlessness. These spectral silhouettes are then sculpted into shape and set until solid, a technique Broom explored during his undergraduate days at Central Saint Martins, when he applied this technique to create mirrors he sold in the Portobello Market.
“I began looking at the Brutalist architecture I grew up with as a child, a period of architecture that I love,” shares Broom about his inspiration for the collections. “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,” he explains. Partaking in the first lighting release for Lee Broom in four years that celebrated 15 years of the Lee Broom brand, each of the four Requiem designs will be available in only 15 pieces sculpted by the designer. Requiem was displayed alongside other new collections by Lee Broom – Hail, Vesper, Pantheum, Altar and Chant – that came together to culminate into the Divine Inspiration.
Mirroring shards of light and shadow created from lancet windows in colossal church arches, Broom materialised Hail as an elongated form fabricated in aluminium with asymmetrically placed reeded glass light bulbs. Vesper, a balanced composition of cuboids and luminous spheres, is influenced by the simple geometric lines of Brutalist sculpture and modernist cathedral lighting. Extending on the brutalist inspiration, Pantheum is evocative of the coffered concrete ceiling of Rome’s ancient temple, The Pantheon. Altar is an ode to Broom’s exploration of the angular forms of mid-century churches and altars, while Chant , an assemblage of frosted glass cubes, draws inspiration from pressed glass bricks often used as an alternative to stained glass in places of worship during the 1970s.
Product designer Lee Broom established his company in 2007 and since the inception has built a reputation for creating authentic, handcrafted furniture, lighting, and accessories under his brand name. Known for experimenting with materials in order to push their conventional boundaries, Lee Broom explores multiple configurations and finishes and plays with a range of different kinds of materials such as carved oak, extruded aluminium, plaster and Jesmonite. Gravitating towards the pared back forms of Modernism and the Brutalist architecture that Broom was hemmed in as he grew up, these new creations elucidate how light is often linked to hallowed places, inducing a sense of serenity, reverence, and contemplation.
STIR takes you on a Milanese sojourn! Experience Salone del Mobile and all the design districts - 5vie, Brera, Fuorisalone, Isola, Zona Tortona, and Durini - with us. STIR’s coverage of Milan Design Week 2022, Meanwhile in Milan showcases the best exhibits, moods, studios, events, and folks to look out for. We are also excited to announce our very own STIR press booth at Salone del Mobile - Hall 5/7 S.14, Fiera Milano RHO.
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