David Trubridge

David Trubridge

Real Coral
vs. Fake Coral

27 July 2015

by David Trubridge

Our lights are continually being illegally copied in China and sold to online and retailer stores. We’ve even seen some pop up at one of Australia’s biggest hardware stores. Most weeks we take legal action to stop the on-sellers of these fakes as it undermines the whole design industry.

Until now we have not seen the actual object, and many of the sites selling copies steal our images so we never know how closely they have matched our designs. What we received alarmed us.

DT Box closed
Fake Box Closed

First impressions

The fake design arrived with labelling claiming it to be a 'David Trubridge Coral', we were surprised by the size of the packaging and what little care had been applied for a high priced 'Replica'. The packaging was similar to very cheap items you'd expect to find at a 'two dollar shop' not an award winning design object. We proceeded in apprehensive curiosity to cut our way into the box. 

"We proceeded in apprehensive curiosity to cut our way into the box. "

DT Box
Fake Box

What's in the box

Once we had cut our way into the regular cardboard box the fake came in, we were startled with the wasted space, the packaging being 8 times larger than ours. The use of polystyrene was despicable. We designed our packaging to fit Coral and Floral (shown) and to the smallest sizes possible.


"The use of polystyrene was despicable and unnecessary."

DT instructions
Fake Instructions

Assembly Experience

We offer assembly videos for most of our kitset lights and 8 page printed instructions, where the fake comes with one page of instructions. However, most sites selling copies send clients to our site for assembly help. Construction of the copy took much longer due to nuts and bolts being supplied for assembly rather than quick push-in clips which we provide. The assembly of our lights on average is 45minutes, the fake (even though we have prior knowledge) took double the time. During assembly of the fake, many pieces delaminated. 

"During assembly of the fake, many pieces delaminated."

DT Close up
Fake Close up

What is it made from?

We ensure the supply of our bamboo is from a sustainable source. Our bamboo is grown as a secondary product of the food industry and we have visited the factory and met the people making our ply. The plywood used in the copy is not bamboo, it may well be from a clear-felled pine forest. We do all we can to run the most sustainable factory possible. The overall feeling of our lights depends on the attention to detail of materials and processes. So the quality of each individual component effects the whole. We are relatively happy that the quality is so low and the fake so bad, that they are not really replacements or competition. Although, we feel for purchasers of these copies who do not know we exist. They are paying almost the same for a light that they could be getting direct from us!

"We feel for purchasers of these copies who do not know we exist as the price is almost equal."

DT Top Detail
Fake Top Detail

Hanging system

Images of the top components show that the copy has been redesigned to allow bulb changing. Whilst this is a good development and one that we explored, it detracts from the final hung form. It also throws the balance of the light to one side when hung. The light started disintegrating at various points as shown due to the plywood being too thick.

"We identify our lights with a heat branded 'dt' authenticity mark."

H2 0011 Hands

Bought a fake design or spotted one on the market?

If you have reason to think you have purchased a fake, replica, copy or imitation David Trubridge kitset light this article is useful in identifying the genuine article. If you still are unsure please send us an email with some close up images.