This story was originally published on habitusliving.com
Once the less desirable part of London, the cobbled backstreets of London’s Shoreditch are now a maze of trendy boutiques: fashion and food, bars and galleries. I’m here to meet Aussie designer Brodie Neill, who has been living and working in London for the past 7 years.
With some of the world’s biggest design names just metres away – Jasper Morrison and Barber Osgerby to name a few – he has set up his small studio on the top floor of an old warehouse on Charlotte Road.
“London is a huge melting pot of culture and people, and especially in this part of the city, the creative industry is very strong,” Brodie says with as much awe as a new arrival. “It’s a really inspiring place to be.”
Studying furniture design at the University of Tasmania, Brodie learnt to craft timber, to be a designer and a maker. He learnt an appreciation for organic lines, natural materials and ‘design as art’.
“In that art school environment, the final piece was always seen in a gallery,” he explains. “You wanted to make these pieces as sensational, art-like pieces, because that was where they culminated. That foundation is how I learnt design.”
He owes a great deal of his aesthetic to his beginnings in Australia, and believes that despite being a relatively new design culture, there is certainly an identifiable Australian aesthetic.
“People who don’t know me will come up and say ‘You’re Australian’, which they can tell just by looking at my work. There’s a vibrancy to Australian design, a real creative freedom.”
Brodie went on to study at the Rhode Island School of Design in the US, which exposed him to 3D Printing and computer-aided design. “When I was studying in Tasmania I already had this love of modern, ultra-contemporary shapes and forms and colours, but the digital aspect of the work didn’t really come to the forefront until I got to America,” he says. “I did classes in the architecture department on rapid prototyping. Some of the digital techniques and tools I learnt and developed then I still use today.”
The Clover light is the perfect example of the organic notion meeting the digital execution. The light began as a sort of logo, a flat two-dimensional drawing. “I saw that as 3D, not just black lines. We then put this into the computer and started to see the shapes and how that diagram could actually have a volume.”
“I can vividly see in my imagination the outcome; what I’m aspiring to. The design process is sometimes an arduous task to realise that moment of conception.”
Brodie is currently working on a new timber bench for Italian company Riva 1920, due to be launched later this year, representing perhaps the first piece that truly melds the organic in form and material with the digital process.