Our Artisans: designer Simon St. James LeComte

Our Houses celebrate the meticulous work of artisans, emerging and established. This month, we introduce the creators behind some of our most beloved and iconic design pieces. Next up, Simon St. James LeComte

By Charlotte Steinway   Images courtesy of Simon St James LeComte   Monday 20 April, 2020   Short read

A man in green work overalls sitting on a chair.

Simon St James LeComte

A green restaurant interior.

'I enjoy that what I’m creating has an effect on a place or a person, whether it be momentary or perpetual.'

LOS ANGELES – LeComte owns Simon St. James Studio, a custom lighting and furniture studio for bars and restaurants (and Soho House), and NewMade LA, a home products line

What do you love about what you do?  
Everything. I’ve always been creative, so the fact that I get to have a career out of ‘making’ is pretty wild. I enjoy that what I’m creating has an effect on a place or a person, whether it be momentary or perpetual. It’s also knowing that what I made started from simple materials and evolved into something entirely of its own being.

Tell us about your design process… 
I think that the ultimate concept remains the same, but it’s the details that get refined along the way. I’m a perfectionist, so every little thing matters. There are often times when I’m still thinking about the product or project even after it’s completed. The design process is constant. Once in a while, a prototype turns out just right and nothing needs to be altered, but those aren’t as fun as the ones that really challenge me to think and adapt.

What’s your favourite part of creating?
The tactile element. I love to use my hands and it’s something that gets a bit lost these days when creating products. So many people rely on computers for renderings, but there’s no substitution for feeling and seeing the item in person. I also like interaction with a piece; the more you interact, the more you make a personal connection to it.
Did you grow up making things? 
Always. Whether it was drawing, building catapults, making sculptures or rebuilding cafe racers, I was always creating. The combined influence of both my parents helped shape me and, ultimately, led to my current path. My mother owns Amsterdam Modern, where she imports mid-century modern furniture from Amsterdam, which has been a massive source of inspiration for me. And my Dutch father collects pre-1970s European classic cars. So, I was raised with this unique mix of mid-century and European style that greatly contributed to my personal aesthetic and me as a designer.

Simon St. James LeComte is a Soho Warehouse member who designed light fixtures for the sixth-floor club, the ground-floor Tavern and the Bedrooms at his local House; simonstjames.com
A bar interior.