Lighting is a design detail that shouldn't be overlooked, and if anyone knows how to use it to transform the feel of a space, it's Lee Broom. And the designer, perhaps best known for his creative, sculptural take on pendants and sconces - alongside an incredible line of furniture - doesn't disappoint when it comes to incorporating beautiful lighting in his New York penthouse in clever ways.
For NYCxDESIGN 2023, Lee Broom has opened his duplex apartment that also serves as his home and showroom. The 3,000 square feet space is drenched in natural light and opens up to views of The Empire State Building and One World Trade.
Within this jewel-box style apartment there is a wonderful dalliance of iconic pieces, offering lessons in lighting trends, layering, display, and more. We asked Lee for the secrets of his apartment's lighting design which can be used to elevate every corner of your home.
Lee Broom is a highly decorated product designer, whose designs are seen in hotels, restaurants and homes across the world. The British designer has showrooms in New York and London.
1. Make lighting your focal point
'I don’t tend to follow trends but bold, sculptural lighting and the use of statement lights as a focal point in a room is something I look to,' says Lee. 'People are beginning to pay more attention to the design of their lighting, and they see it as one of the most important aspects to consider when designing a scheme, not only for its functionality but also for the decorative impact it can create.'
Lee believes that a good light is like jewellery - an embellishment that adds to the overall look. 'Ultimately a light fixture is one of the only things on a ceiling in comparison to the walls and floor of an interior which are full of furniture and decorative finishes,' says Lee. 'With that in mind, lighting allows you to generate a real conversation piece.'
2. Treat lighting as art
From the living room lighting to the dining, bedroom, and more, fixtures with distinctive identities still meld together under a common thread in Lee's penthouse – that of being pieces of art.
'I consider lighting to be an art, and believe that a sculptural piece can transform a space just as a painting or object might do,' says Lee. 'Sculptural lighting is not only eye-catching in its design and silhouette, but also in the light it produces, whether that be a soft glow or something brighter, which can completely transform the atmosphere of a space.'
So, as you might position a piece of art above a fireplace, the room's central point, instead place a statement table lamp on the mantle, or hang a light there. Functional and decorative at the same time.
Multilight pendant, Lumens (opens in new tab)
Stylish and sculptural, consider this Lee Broom pendant light for high-ceilinged homes. Made of clear glass, it is enhanced with cross-cut gridlines caps, transforming direct downlight into a glittering glow.
3. Layer your lighting scheme
A tall lamp meets a sconce, a side table light converses with pendants, and a central chandelier shines above. A layered approach to lighting is at the heart of Lee's elegant living room.
'When layering lighting in a room, you should consider the different tasks of the room from a functional aspect, and this will dictate the lighting required,' says Lee. 'You need to look at ceiling and corner lights, sconces, and table lamps, all of which emit different levels of light and can be switched on and off independently depending on the environment required.'
Imagine what you might use each corner or area of the room for - reading, relaxing, entertaining and so on - and make sure it's lit accordingly.
'I always recommend installing dimmers to adjust the brightness to suit the changing mood from the day into the evening,' Lee adds. 'In my own home, we have at least four individual settings for every point of the day.'
Carousel Xl chandelier, 1st Dibs (opens in new tab)
Inspired by the merry-go-round, this Lee Broom piece has inset LED lighting that creates a spectacular ring of illumination. The circular ceiling plate by steel suspension wires has a single clear cable.
4. Go big in a small space
When it comes to going bold with design, you might not think a small home office would home some of Lee's most expansive lighting forms. 'My home office features Vesper, a light from my latest collection, Divine Inspiration,' says Lee. 'The design was inspired by the geometric lines of Brutalist sculpture and the modernist design of cathedral lighting. The chandelier features rectangular cubes suspended by cables, which are seamlessly connected by illuminated spheres to create a piece that feels balanced and contemporary. It creates a dramatic centerpiece, and the brushed gold brings a warmth to the space.'
By adding a large light to a small area you're creating a sense of grandeur that isn't there, elevating even the smallest room into a place that feels considered, even treasured.
'This piece emphasizes that idea of using light as a sculpture,' says Lee. 'I have created many of my designs in this space so in a room where I need to feel creative, it is important to surround myself with creative objects.'
5. Hang dining room lighting at just the right height
Speaking of accenting spaces in the house, while dining room lighting does usually receive a lot of thought and consideration, Lee offers food for thought for the light above your table.
'Whether it be an intimate space or something grander, table illumination sets the tone for any dining experience,' says Lee. 'For me, the crowning glory of any dining room is its light fixture. I always suggest you go big, regardless of the space itself. The only thing you need to consider is height. It should be hung low above the table but not low enough that it obscures your fellow diners. The light fixture should also be dimmed to a candlelight setting to create an ambient glow rather than a harsh glare.'
Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast). Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.
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