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Nat Cheshire has been working in architecture since the mid nineties, and ran his own studio when he was 19. He worked furiously and changed the lives of those for whom he worked. He believed that to be worth the pain and the exhaustion. He still do.
At 23, he closed his own office, to join his father’s new studio Cheshire Architects. Nat and Pip Cheshire now run the studio of two dozen designers in Auckland city, operating across an enormous breadth of types and scales.
Nat leaps daily from graphic design to light fittings to basement cocktail dens to luxury retreats to whole chunks of the inner city. Amongst this work, Nat has spent the last couple of years building and fitting-out much of the new Britomart, and inventing the City Works Depot. He attacks everything with equal energy and aggression, seeking the extraordinary rather than the perfect, and pursuing a new vision for both architecture and his city.
Nat is a passionate, well spoken and respected designer who has been collaborating closely with Resident since 2012.
An Interview with our favourite Brit boy Lee Broom ahead of this year’s Milan Furniture. Looking back on his acclaimed Nouveau Rebel collection.
Archetypal (AT): You were trained as a fashion designer. How and why you move from that to product design?
Lee Broom (LB) Whilst I was studying fashion at Central Saint Martin’s, I used to take on small interiors projects to make some extra money, which then soon grew into a new career in the interiors world. Product design was another evolution from the interiors projects.
AT: What’s your design philosophy? Did the transition from fashion to product affected your design?
LB: I feel the disciplines between fashion and interiors are pretty similar, particularly when it comes to product design. There is still a direct influence from my fashion background on my work, which gives it a point of difference.
AT: Please share with us something interesting and unique in your design process. What you usually do apart from work?
LB: I draw inspiration from all around, but more often from the fashion and art worlds than from the interior or product design sectors. All of my designs start their journey in a sketch book which I keep with me at all times as you never know when an idea might occur. Living and working in London is also constantly stimulating, with so much cutting edge culture as well as history and heritage right on your doorstep.
AT: Where does your inspiration come from?
LB: Inspirations tend to come from anywhere, especially when living in a vivacious city such as London. However a great source of inspiration comes from various galleries and exhibitions, fashion magazines along with markets for that vintage element. Also, I think that my theatre background has a subconscious influence on my work, particularly when it comes to our exhibitions.
AT: What has inspired you to come up with the latest Nouveau Rebel collection?
LB: After designing ‘On The Rock’ I wanted to explore using marble further so decided to create a whole collection of marble pieces called ‘Nouveau Rebel’. The name is a tongue in cheek reference to the cultural associations of marble and how it has moved on from being a purely luxury material to being a more honest and natural material. I like the juxtaposition of design materials: the old and the new, the tough and the delicate, the heavy and the light weight to create contemporary and original pieces. Marble also illuminates beautifully.
AT: Is there any material that is signature of your brand or you’d love to see in your own future collection?
LB: The Crystal Bulb is my best known product and that material is clearly associated with the brand. However I am launching over 20 new products in Milan this month, which introduce new materials and production processes. I wanted to explore all the things that inspire me right now, from new materials, vivid colours, pop culture, craft culture, techniques from the past and shapes from the future
AT: Among all of your designs, what is your proudest work and why?
LB: The launch of my very first collection Neo Neon in 2007, and also the Crystal Bulb, which is probably my most famous piece and the biggest seller. Additionally, my upcoming show in Milan for my new collection The Department Store, it’s my largest collection and exhibition to date consisting of over 20 products.
Lee Broom’s latest collection Nouveau Rebel will be in store from 24th April 2015.