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Bespoke furniture design calls for composites


Tasmanian-born designer Brodie Neill.

Brooke St Pier seats designed by Brodie Neill made by Penguin Composites

The Wishbone bench seats in Hobarts new Brooke St Pier create a striking sculptural impact for tourists taking the ferry to MONA. Photographer Peter Whyte.

The beauty of resin composites is centre stage in Hobart’s new $12 million Brooke Street Pier, a remarkable floating structure providing the gateway to the River Derwent for the state’s most popular tourist attraction, the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA).

London-based furniture designer Brodie Neill designed the ferry terminal’s Wishbone bench seats to create a striking sculptural impact for art-lovers and the curious embarking on the eclectic experience for which MONA is now world famous.

Commissioned by Brooke Street Pier Development Corporation, the 14 benches designed by Tasmanian-born Neill were built by Tasmania-based Penguin Composites.

Neill, who launches his furniture collections at some of the world’s most famous design events, took his inspiration for this home-town commission from the whale vertebrae which frequently wash up on Tasmanian beaches.  He chose Glass Reinforced Polymer (GRP) to realise the long, undulating three-way symmetry of his organic design. Continually experimenting with high concept, technology-driven design that pushes materials to the limit, many of Neill’s pieces showcase the strength and fluid forms that only carbon fibre and resin composites can deliver.

Based on Neill’s CAD design, John van der Woude’s team at Penguin Composites engineered and manufactured the four black and eight white benches, CNC cutting the moulds for the Light RTM process, sensor cutting the plywood grid internal structure to the final matt paint finish. Delivered within a very short timeframe to meet the official opening, the Wishbones are a notable addition to the diverse project portfolio for Penguin Composites.


The manufacturer: Penguin Composites

The designer: Brodie O’Neill