London-based alumni Brodie Neill not only earned a place at the table of leading world designers in September – he also provided the table.

Representing Australia, Brodie unveiled a new installation, Plastic Effects, at the inaugural London Design Biennale.

His work received rave reviews, including The New York Times listing it among its top five must-see installations of the event, and leading design publication Wallpaper calling it “mesmerising”.

The installation included photographic works and a specimen table, titled Gyro, which is constituted from ocean plastics and developed by the designer and his collaborators.

He collaborated with Dr Jennifer Lavers of the University’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies in preparing the installation. Dr Lavers’ research interests include the impact of plastics on ocean ecology and wildlife.

Born in Hobart, Brodie graduated from the University of Tasmania in 2001 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Furniture Design with Honours. He then took a Masters at the Rhode Island School of Design.

In 2012 he returned home to receive the Foundation Graduate Award. The citation read in part: “At University, it was quickly recognised that here was an extraordinary individual with unlimited potential. As a student he excelled consistently, always applying twice the effort of his peers, with twice the result. His work was wholly inventive, rigorously researched and masterfully executed.

Since graduating, Brodie has pursued his professional life with the same inventiveness, rigor and masterful production, successfully integrating digital technologies with the sensitivities of the hand-made. Furthermore, he has shown the courage and conviction to test these ideas in the fiercely competitive international arena.

Many of the reasons why Brodie’s works stands out on the international scene, he explained to Alumni magazine in 2010, relate back to his University of Tasmania education.

“The course at UTAS gave me an edge,” he said.

I travel the world, going to New York, London and Milan. The designs I see have been created by pen and paper and computer. But UTAS encouraged a hands-on, sculptural approach…

“We had to build the objects ourselves, which meant we got to understand the materials that go into the process. One day, it may be making a chair out of wood, and the next, something out of steel. I’ve always had a bit more of an industrial-design outlook, but my creative roots are definitely Tasmanian.”

According to University Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Rathjen, Neill’s story is a striking example of one of the institution’s guiding principles.

“The University of Tasmania believes that we must offer higher education which is world class so that our graduates can compete in an increasingly competitive global workforce,” Professor Rathjen said. “We have many good examples of that, but Brodie Neill is among the best of them.”

Neill launched his latest work, the Made In Ratio Elements side table, at the week-long Kortrijk Biennale Interieur in Belgium last month.

This story features in the University's latest Open To Talent magazine. See the whole issue online here.