Brodie Neill’s second collection under his Made in Ratio brand sees the designer embracing new materials and forms as his international profile continues to grow, writes Ola Bednarczuk.
May 7th, 2014
Brodie Neill is fresh from a successful showing at Milan Design Week when I catch up with him near his studio in East London’s Clerkenwell. His new pieces are still on their way back from Italy, where Neill exhibited at Spazio Verger, a showroom in Milan’s Brera district.
Collection 2, consisting of five new designs, sees Neill take on ideas explored in his first collection and take them a step further. “It’s definitely a progression,” he says. “It expands on [the first collection], supporting it but also offering new alternatives. It’s about applying similar ideas to different materials.”
Shapes echo each other; there’s the same focus on geometry and materials found in the first collection, but there’s also a greater diversity in the new designs. The sculptural Stem Stool and simple, stackable Pik stool – crafted from recycled PET felt – are aimed at the contract market. The geometric Tetra system and triangular Prism coffee table provide counterpoints to first collection pieces like the Cowrie chair and rocker and Supernova table, creating a more cohesive and complete set of products.
Neill’s profile has continued to grow steadily since the Tasmanian-born designer set up shop in London, following a stint in New York after completing his Masters at the Rhode Island School of Design. Since his first showing at Milan’s Salone Satellite young designers showcase in 2005, he has worked consistently to become an in-demand designer for manufacturers including Kundalini and Riva 1920. “If I’m given the sniff of an opportunity, I will not let it go,” he says. “I put myself in the right position at the right time.”
Although his studio is based in London and he works for some of design’s biggest international brands, he sees his design approach and style as unmistakeably Australian. “There’s a playfulness and experimentation in Australian design, and an element of resolution in that the idea is complete,” he says. “Australian designers really consider the complete aspect [of a design]. I think you get a very innovative way of looking at something but with a high level of resolve there as well, and that has a lot to do with the Aussie roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-it-done attitude.”
The coming year will see Neill rolling up his sleeves to create more designs for Made in Ratio as well as continue his big brand collaborations. “We’re doing limited edition work, designing lighting for manufacturers, getting into products – all types of things,” he says. It seems that Neill has found the perfect ratio of keeping busy and staying creative, cementing his reputation as a designer to watch.
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