Australian furniture designer-maker brings over three kilometers of Tasmanian timber to the global design table
The last two years have looked quite different for everyone, but the inability to travel has been consistent. For Tasmanian born Brodie Neill, who now lives and practices in London, he couldn’t travel to his beloved Island home, but he could bring Tasmania to London. Two years of extensive study has resulted in Neill producing a stunning table formed from Tasmanian timber veneer offcuts, which recently launched at London Craft Week. Now the ReCoil table that took two years to come to fruition is now being prepared for a global tour throughout 2022.
Combining the digital world of furniture making with the fine detail and intricacy of handmade craft, Neill developed an algorithm to serve as a guide as to how the table would carefully be constructed. Inspired by the annual growth rings found in old growth trees, more than three kilometers of Tasmanian Timber veneer offcuts including Huon Pine, Tasmanian Oak, Celery Top Pine, Sassafras, Myrtle and Blackwood, the table was formed by wrapping the veneer strips tightly together to make a coiled and smooth tabletop.
From above, only small slivers of the prized timbers can be seen but Neill shares how he incorporated visuals of the timber grain into the table.
“I used the base of the table to showcase the grain of each of the timbers used in the coil to help tell the story of what the tabletop is made from. Having been based in London for the last few decades it was a pleasure to work with Tasmanian timbers again and show them off to an audience who has had minimal exposure to these Australian species.”
“While each of the timbers had slightly different textures and some being more malleable than others, the workability of the timber was fantastic. I especially enjoyed working with the Myrtle– the smell brought me back to when we worked closely with the timber in art school,” says Neill.
With the table’s first stop at London Craft Week, Neill was pleased with the response the table received from its debut.
“As a part of the ReCoil display, we had images of Lake Pieman [where Hydrowood timber is harvested from], the Tasmanian forest and common scenes from around Tasmania printed on silk tapestries and hung from the ceiling. The display helped portray to the global community the rugged and wild scenes from our special island state but in a very soft and delicate way.”
“Viewers were invited to journey to Tasmania through this interactive and visually striking display. It was very well received and gave people a small sense of being there,” says Neill.
Having been born and raised in Tasmania, Neill also attended the Tasmanian School of Art to study furniture design, which is where his beginnings in the industry first started. With Tasmanian timber being one of the initial materials Neill used to make furniture, Neill has since utilised a range of materials to make his award-winning pieces. His work has been showcased internationally at some of the most prestigious galleries and museums as well as creating custom pieces for some of the world’s most recognised brands.
The ReCoil table design was years in the making, but it all started with a conversation over a pint at a famed Hobart pub with fellow Tasmanian and reclaimed timber supplier, Andrew Morgan from Hydrowood.
“Andrew and I have been in discussions for years on how we may be able to collaborate. I knew I wanted to craft a piece of furniture out of Hydrowood timber for a long time and when Covid hit and I was no longer able to travel back to my home state of Tasmania, it was great to be able to access Tasmanian Timber from my London workshop.”
Thirty years ago, Hydro Tasmania flooded forests on Tasmania’s west coast to create water storage for energy production. In those hydroelectric dams, forests of 200–1000-year-old trees are still standing, submerged beneath the water. Thanks to innovative harvesting and processing methods, this valuable timber is now being reclaimed from the depths by Tasmanian timber supplier, Hydrowood.
ReCoil will be touring internationally this year with its final stop in Launceston at Design Tasmania.