We have had a facsimile of the Federation Pavilion plaque in our studio, or in the studio garage, since 1987. It’s a historic artefact of some interest.
Everyone who worked on this commission (1985-1987), from our client to the design team, the builders (including subcontractors) and administration from companies involved, are named on the edge of the plaque. In the middle there are few other important people of the day.
We designed the plaque – it was a major achievement to reduce the names in the middle to just the three most important people running the country on January 1, 1988.
Around 2017, we were thinking of designing a glass top table for our reception area to show and protect the plaque from damage. Soon after, we were commissioned to design the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas; and had the opportunity to design some bespoke furniture for the project.
A glass top reception table was one of the required pieces of furniture for the JNIJI, offering a chance to realise our concept design idea.
After an initial prototype failure, the Neilson table was born and named for one of the most important champions of architecture in Australia. Thank you, Judith.
We envisioned a seamless ‘ribbon’ of brass that effortlessly suspends the glass top and plaque. A flowing, open, visually light spatial form with purity of structure, expressing the richness of the unadorned brass. It takes inspiration from the clarity of form and economical use of the rolled metal plate previously used in the street tree guards we developed for the City of Sydney. The craftsmanship executed by the fabricators makes the table appear deceptively simple with the brass structure defining the leg profiles in a continuous flowing band.
The JNIJI received the first finished table distinguished by a glass top where it sits in their reception space alongside our custom timber joinery and brass reception desk. The second version of the table sits in our office reception and houses our cherished facsimile Federation Pavilion plaque.
The Neilson table can be fabricated in different table top materials and the size varied, allowing for customisation of the design to suit different purposes.