Monday, 13 September 2010
This impeccably coiffed designer is doing rather well for himself. Design East selected him to make a lighting installation for the new Olympics-driven mega mall Westfield East - Tracey Emin, Tom Dixon, Mary Portas and Erin O'Conner are on the panel that chose him.
His first shop collection recently launched at Heal's and Coquine, his latest bar, opened in May. And now he's having a party (music by Jodie Harsh, booze by a slick sponsor) at his Shoreditch studio, below, for his new disco glam Ollo lights, above, next week as part of the London Design Festival.
He's done some risky things our Lee - like carpet lined lampshades - but also made some simple conceptual beauties such as neon-light-lined French bistro chairs and lampshades made from cut crystal decanters (a man in the country cuts the bottoms out for him, which is tricky). He does new and often strange things from old-fashioned starting points, all in a very London way. Everyone does something new with something old don't they, but it's the level of ingenuity that sets a stand-out creation apart from an object that only has novelty factor.
The Architrave collection for Heal's, below, looks more discreet than his usual stuff because it's white, but it's actually quite extreme, the way it chops off the ends of the displaced dado rails. It's a little bit surreal and very modern.
Most of his work is for bars and restaurants which allows him to show off his flair for creating a whole look. This set-building is how he started doing interiors. Whilst studying fashion at Central St Martins he styled some bars on the side for cash. His work was so successful that he decided to give up fashion, despite interning with Vivienne Westwood.
He's a bit Cool Britannia, like Viv. He loves the Queen and he makes products that are almost wrong yet totally gorgeous. He also wears really great jewellery - diamond studs, sovereign rings and a collar cufflink - sweet!