Lee Broom's virtual launch of Maestro chair features movie with 30 classical musiciansby Jennifer Hahn
Products fair: London designer Lee Broom has unveiled a chair that pays homage to musical instruments, commissioning an orchestra to perform music by Debussy while seated on the chairs for the virtual launch.
The Maestro chair is currently on view as part of a pared-back, pandemic-friendly version of the London Design Festival, in a window installation at his shop in Shoreditch.
But Broom is also showcasing the chair via a cinematic short film (top), in lieu of being able to stage the kind of extravagant, immersive showroom presentations, through which he usually debuts his products.
The film features London's Parallax Orchestra reuniting for the first time since lockdown to perform a selection of classical compositions including Claude Debussy's Clair de Lune.
"The idea for the film really stems from seeing the New York Philharmonic play in Manhattan last year," Broom told Dezeen.
"It quickly became my ambition to watch a live orchestra play some of my favourite pieces of music sitting on my chair while presenting the furniture in a way that hadn't been done before."
Directed by London creative studio Satore, the film is dramatised through dynamic, under-seat lighting that responds to the music and a CGI rendering of the moon floating behind the orchestra.
Satore previously created the set design for Beyoncé's 2011 performance at Glastonbury festival while Broom's Hanging Hoop Chair was recently featured in the singer's Black is King visual album.
The Maestro chair and its curved steel frame were designed to suggest the undulating coils and wraps of musical instruments and in particular the brass section of a classical orchestra.
"Music informs a lot of my design work, from the initial process of sketching and listening to background music to choosing the right pieces to play at exhibitions," said Broom.
"When I was designing Maestro, I was listening to more classical pieces and this led me to start looking at the design of classical instruments. They are incredible pieces of design that not only look exquisite with their twists and coils, but also have a very specific function, and I like those parallels between that and a chair."
The tubes, which can be rendered in brass, chrome or black, are stacked on top of each other to form a three-tiered circular backrest.
When they reach the seat, the highest and lowest tube juts out to form the front and back legs respectively, while the central one wraps all the way around the seat, cradling it in its curvature.
The hemispherical seat itself can be covered in almost any fabric, thanks to a newly established upholstery workshop in Broom's own east London factory.
"More so now than ever, people want variation and something unique. We see this with a lot of our products, so for a chair it was vital that we gave customers as many options for upholstery as we can," he said.
"We found the best way to do this was to take control of the upholstery ourselves to make sure we can satisfy demand. The more control we have over the process the better."
Broom's previous contributions to LDF include a kaleidoscopic light installation, designed to create the feeling of "stepping into a Tardis". Elsewhere, he filled an underground car park in Sydney with more than 100 lights for his Park Life exhibition.
Product: Maestro chair
Designer: Lee Broom
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