David's work came to prominence in 2001 when the Italian design house Cappellini bought the rights for Body Raft. The Coral light followed in 2004 for DTL, establishing a blueprint for kit-set products that minimised environmental footprint. The company is proud to hold Life Cycle Assessments (LCA’s) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs).
David's designs have featured in countless international publications including the most influential, as an instigator of the trend of 'raw sophistication' and as an exemplar of environmentally responsible design. In 2008 the French magazine Express listed him as one of the top 15 designers in the world, and in 2012 the Pompidou Centre in Paris purchased his 'Icarus' installation for its permanent collection.
Why David designs
During an interview with the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Trubridge answered the fundamental question of why he designs.
“To provide cultural nourishment, to tell stories, to reach people emotionally and spiritually; the objects are a vehicle for the nourishment we so badly lack in all the pragmatic and consumer stuff we are surrounded with. And the other reason I design is to recreate that vital connection to nature that we have lost so much, living in insulated cities.”
Trubridge has had a long-standing passion for the environment, deepened by his time at sea. In 2004 he was selected for the Antarctica Arts Fellowship program, which allowed him to spend several weeks in this remote and ecologically delicate location. It was an experience that inspired Trubridge to heighten his pursuit of environmental sensitivity, both as an individual, and as the driving force behind a company that continues to expand.
This ethos is demonstrated in the company's dedication to sourcing sustainable materials. Wherever possible, all timber is from sustainably managed plantations in New Zealand, or the United States. Wood is left natural where appropriate, with natural non-toxic oils being used in place of harmful solvents. From a design point of view, the products use only the minimal amount of materials and are generated with a focus on longevity, rather than mimicking quick-moving trends. Shipping and freight is often reduced by the introduction of the Seed System. These come flat packed and ready for the customer to assemble. Larger, more complex kitsets are also shipped as flat packs, with distributors constructing them in preparation for the market.
"…the objects are a vehicle for the nourishment we so badly lack in all the pragmatic and consumer stuff we are surrounded with…"
David Trubridge graduated from Newcastle University in England in 1972 with a degree in Naval Architecture (Boat Design). Working as a forester part-time in rural Northumberland for a short period, he taught himself to make furniture. His carefully crafted designs were shown all over the UK.
In 1981, Trubridge and his wife Linda set off to sail around the world with their two small sons. They sold all they had and bought ‘Hornpipe’, the yacht that was their home for the next ten years as they navigated their way throughout the Caribbean and the Pacific.
The family arrived in New Zealand in 1985. Deeply inspired by his impressions of the Pacific, Trubridge began to develop furniture which held close connotations with the sea.
Fortunes changed dramatically for Trubridge with his re-launch of Body Raft which was taken to the Milan Furniture Fair in 2001 and brought into production by Cappellini. This signaled the transformation of the business from a small-scale model to one that has a considerable presence on the international lighting and furniture market.
"They sold all they had and bought ‘Hornpipe’, the yacht that was their home for the next ten years"
David writes a regular blog about all sorts of things.Explore it here.