Smile for the Camera: Northrop's hand in designing the BRISBANE sign

The recently endorsed South Bank masterplan keeps the BRISBANE sign as a central feature. Northrop played an integral role in the design of the iconic sign, now a beloved landmark. Originally conceived as a temporary installation for the G20 Leaders' Summit, the permanent sign was built in 2015 as a joint effort between Brisbane City Council and the State Government. The design not only invites photo opportunities against the backdrop of the Brisbane skyline but also encourages interaction, with letters designed for climbing and enjoyment.


From its inception, Northrop’s structural team collaborated closely with Naturform to bring the sign to life, from initial sketches to construction to installation. Utilising laser cut aluminium plates and fully welded seams, we ensured both durability and minimised long-term maintenance. The aluminium also reduces the heat of the sculpture for the children climbing on it in the Queensland sun and is an ideal surface for the decorative coverings that transform the letters into a canvas for the community.


Today, the BRISBANE sign stands proudly on the South Bank cultural forecourt, serving as a vibrant symbol of the city's spirit. The new masterplan for South Bank’s Northern Gateway places it prominently as an engagement piece with the river experience. A testament to collaboration and creativity, it continues to captivate locals and visitors alike, enriching the urban landscape with its timeless charm.

Principal | Senior Structural Engineer
Joe O'Brien

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