Lee Broom – Park Life

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British designer Lee Broom reveals ‘Park Life’, a dazzling pop-up exhibition in a car park in Sydney

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

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UK design talent Lee Broom is known for glamorous lighting, furniture and accessories. His shows are just as cutting-edge, with the rising star previously exhibiting his work in a mock department store, a mobile van (albeit one tricked out with an elegant room interior) and on a fairground carousel. Now Broom is taking over an underground car park below Space’s Sydney furniture showroom for ambitious pop-up ‘Park Life’, sharing his new lights with the public in a modernist maze. The Alexandria installation will be his largest to date, covering 4,000 square feet, with the free exhibition running from 14 to 20 March.

‘I am delighted to return to Australia to present this exciting exhibition with Space Furniture,’ says Broom. ‘Australia has been a big supporter of my work for many years and it is an honour to create such a significant installation to showcase my collection in Sydney.’

TOP: The entrance to Sydney’s subterranean ‘Park Life’ maze pavilion, with Lee Broom flanked by his ‘Orion Globe’ and ‘Orion Tube’ lights. ABOVE RIGHT: Fix up, look sharp… London lighting designer Lee Broom before he turned blonde for his Australian tour

A former actor and fashion designer, Broom is known for his trademark sharp look, teaming simple classic and street-savvy details. His designs also reinterpret classical styles in contemporary ways, giving them an unexpected edge. Expect more striking fusions at immersive experience ‘Park Life’, where he’ll be transforming the raw, concrete, industrial car park into his take on a trad English garden.

ABOVE: Lee Broom’s surreal modernist garden maze ‘Park Life’ in Sydney, a beautifully resolved installation featuring his lighting, accessories and furniture in a series of 16 illuminated room sets. Enchanting vignettes play with ideas from chess boards and Newton’s Cradles to cascading waterfalls and trompe l’oeil reflections

Channelling a meandering maze, the pop-up will take guests on ‘a poetic journey of discovery through hidden passageways, with tableaus and vignettes,’ says Broom, showcasing his lighting, furniture and accessories. Inspiration hails from 18th-century pleasure gardens, with their mazes and miniature waterways, amusing visitors with the latest art, architecture, music and illuminations. However, Broom gives the concept a modernist spin, aiming to create a sense of escapism, entertainment and drama.

ABOVE: More mesmerising moments from the ‘Park Life’ pavilion. A white polycarbonate box within the concrete car park, its interconnecting spaces are lined with pale gravel, with designs displayed beside classical statues on boxy, layered plinths. Black acrylic, cut-outs and mirror add surprise to surfaces

If Broom’s mind-bending 2017 trompe l’oeil installation ‘On Reflection’ at his London showroom is anything to go by, design hunters should be in for a treat. Broom chose to show in Sydney, not Milan this year, reaching out to his Australian and Asia-Pacific fanbase, and has put all his creative energy into crafting a surreally beautiful space, guaranteed to whisk visitors into wonderland.

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ABOVE: Lee Broom’s new ‘Eclipse’ pendant lights, updated in polished gold, will be showcased at the pop-up

Debuting at the ‘Park Life’ installation is a new version of Broom’s award-winning ‘Eclipse’ light in a polished gold finish, a warmer, softer interpretation of the original chrome. Like an elegant mobile, these sculptural pendants look different from every angle, with mirror-polished gold and acrylic discs interacting, simultaneously eclipsing and revealing their charms.

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ABOVE FROM LEFT: ‘Eclipse’ chandelier three piece in sheeny gold. The design also comes as a table lamp, with all three variations available to order from April. Broom’s ‘Orion Tube’ and ‘Orion Globe’ pendant lights in polished gold

‘Park Life’ is part of Broom’s wider #LBTour of Asia and Australia, which has seen him give design talks at Space’s showrooms in Singapore for Singapore Design Week (4-17 March), and Brisbane, with another to come at Space Melbourne on 14 March (6pm-9pm) for Melbourne Design Week (14-24 March). Design fans can buy tickets to the Melbourne event, in which Broom will chat about his career, global brand and the experimental nature of design. Plans are also afoot for him to talk at ECC’s Auckland showroom in New Zealand. Don’t miss this illuminating talent…
leebroom.com spacefurniture.com.au

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ABOVE: Broom’s circular ‘Carousel XL’ pendant light in matte black at the installation, inspired by British fairground merry-go-rounds

Free exhibition ‘Park Life’ is at Space, 84 O’Riordan Street, Alexandria, Sydney, from 14 to 20 March 2019 (open daily 10am to 5pm); a launch evening on 13 March is by invite only. Lee Broom’s products are available exclusively in Australia, Singapore and Malaysia from Space Furniture. His ticketed Melbourne talk is at Space, 629 Church Street, Richmond, on 14 March (6pm-9pm)

Pictures: Craig Wall (Sydney installation)

25XDesign: Amanda Levete's inspiring Melbourne tour

MPavilion 2015 architect Amande Levete shares her 25xDesign Melbourne inspirations for a smart tour

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

At DesignFizz, we’ve long been fans of Melbourne’s design charms, from modernist architecture to quirky laneways, cutting-edge shops and salvage-chic bars. So imagine our delight when we heard that Amanda Levete of AL_A studio, the UK architect behind this year's magical MPavilion, had teamed up with London Design Festival director Ben Evans to create a guide to Melbourne's most inspiring style spots.

Launched at MPavilion today, the 25xDesign smart tour was conceived by Evans as an interactive digital event, intended to celebrate design and place. You can experience Levete's 25 hand-picked, favourite Melbourne design destinations as a traditional walking tour, but that would be like so 1985! This so-now tour was developed with Google Creative Lab's 360 degree technology, so you can access the locations as a virtual immersion on your mobile or online (provided you've got compatibility, 'natch). Dubbed Story Spheres, the platform uses experimental browser technologies including webGL and 3js, and can be viewed on your desktop, mobile or via Google Cardboard for a virtual-reality-esque experience. Future tours will help design fans discover other cities with the help of select tastemakers, but Melbourne is the first cab off the rank.

Tours start and finish at MPavilion, in Queen Victoria Gardens, and include a thought-provoking mix of art, architecture, transport and streetscapes (think Melbourne's iconic trams and 19th-century laneways, right), plus drinking and dining dens (such as Patricia's cafe, right, by Foolscap Studio and Beyond the Little Pixels on Little William Street, with pavement pews formed from trademark Melbourne plastic crates).

We won't give the whole game away, but top picks include artist Ugo Rondinone's 2007 'Our Magic Hour' light art installation in South Yarra (main image above) as well as Napier Waller's 1933 Newspaper House mosaic (inset on mobile above), Carlton's kookily nautical 1936 Cairo Flats by Best Overend with their swirly cream stairways (above), and Harry Seidler's modernist 1980s 1 Spring Street block (formerly Shell House, above). So wherever you are, take a tour...
mpavilion.org