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Brodie Nell’s hanging ocean in ME Hotel hall
Concurrently with the London Design Week 2017, the artist unveils his latest installation Drop in the Ocean
Australian furniture designer Brodie Neill is the author of site-specific installation Drop in the Ocean; here he shows with a piece from the Flotsam collection, made out from a multitude of recycled ocean plastic and resin
A mesmerising nature-driven installation is stealing the stage in the 100-feet high Atrium of the luxurious iconic Foster+Partners designed ME Hotel in London: Drop in the Ocean by Australian artist Brodie Neill is an evocative insight on the global issue of ocean pollution through contemporary design.
Neill has designed a basin-like coffee table – a sort of discreet “pool of water” – made from recycled ocean plastic, and used to create the waterfall installation: a single drop of water drops regularly every 60 seconds, released from above by an ad hoc mechanism and landing in the pool so to create a ripple effect. Named Ocean Terrazzo by the artist himself, the installation comprises a multitude of plastic pieces and resin. Also, projection mapping is employed by screening images of a tidal wave across the surrounding walls.
On the occasion of the official opening, we met the artist in the backstage to learn more about the current and future agenda of his art.
An installation focused on the issue of plastic pollution in the ocean. Where did the idea come from?
The installation is a continuation of my work drawing attention to the global issue of ocean pollution through contemporary design, and upcycling waste streams to create innovative materials. Exactly a year ago, while standing in the Atrium at ME London, I was inspired to create an installation which used both the unique height of the prism-like Atrium and the state-of-the-art video projectors that video map its white Carrara walls.
So you created a multi-sensory installation showing the power of a single from of water being released and gradually triggering a roaring wave.
Indeed. Before the eyes of the audience, a drop of water will fall from the Atrium’s ceiling into a small, white pool, creating a ripple effect and eventually generating a physical wave which is simultaneously video-projected on the walls.
The “pool” is assembled with plastic debris and resin. Tell us more about the production process.
I started working with international associations and coastal organisations and volunteers promoting clean, healthy, and well-managed beaches. Together, we collected a massive amount of plastic pieces that keep emerging out of water every single day, which I later collaged together into a sort of “container” symbolising the issue of ocean pollution.
Which reaction do you expect?
I do hope the audience will have a totally immersive experience, while reflecting on plastic pollution’s side effects on both our oceans and marine life. Waters are expected to house higher quantities of plastic rather than fish within 2025, and we have to do something right away. Indeed, the single drop symbolises the smallest essence of nature but with momentous consequences. Same for human actions: small gestures can have a big impact, as they say.
Designing for social change. Is it the future?
Totally. Just like a proper global community, design needs to play a key role in facing contemporary issues we are dealt with on a daily basis. Product designers have the power to affect and shape the numerous ways people interact with both nature and man-made environments. By taking inspiration from the natural world, we can manage to overcome any challenges or difficulties, as nature is itself an Encyclopedia of evolutionary design.
A major topic in Neill’s artistic production, ocean pollution already hit the headlines on the occasion of the London Design Biennale 2016: back then, fragments of recycled ocean plastic were inlaid to achieve the Terrazzo effect on the Gyro table, designed by the artist to celebrate Australia’s debuting pavilion.
Also, Neill’s latest furniture collection, called Flotsam, includes a bench with an ocean-plastic surface placed right by the ME Hotel's elevators.
Drop in the Ocean is on show at ME London from Monday to Sunday h. 12PM - 3.30 PM, 6.30PM - 9 PM. Free entry.
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