Designer Spotlight: David Trubridge

Written by Nicole Gratson

Upon graduating from Newcastle University in England in 1972 with a degree in Naval Architecture, David Trubridge, founder of David Trubridge Ltd., began what would develop into an internationally renowned furniture and lighting design career. He found inspiration working part-time as a forester in rural Northumberland and honed his unique designing talents by hand-crafting furniture that was showcased and cherished all over the U.K.

In 1981, David and his wife Linda sold all of their possessions, bought a yacht and sailed around the world with their two young sons for four years, most notably navigating through the idyllic and culturally-rich regions of the Caribbean and Pacific islands. In 1985, he and his family arrived in New Zealand, and David began to create furniture and luminaries that evoke a respect for the sea, marine life and traditional island cultures. After the prominent Italian design house Cappellini purchased the rights to his Body Raft design, David launched his lighting range with the now iconic Coral Light in 2004. Coral paved the way for a range of sustainable bamboo fixtures that mindfully minimized the environmental footprint of production, while maximizing the impact of the design.

The Coral Light

David and his company have been regularly featured in international periodicals as a pioneer of “raw sophistication” and environmentally-sound pieces as well as cost-effective production techniques. David Trubridge was named one of the World’s Top 15 Lighting Designers by renowned French magazine Express in 2008 and is proud to hold the Life Cycle Assessments and Environmental Product Declarations certifications.

When asked during an interview with Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum about “why he designs,” Trubridge responded, “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.”

Through his world travels, David inadvertently procured his inimitable passion, appreciation, and love of the sea and its elusively fascinating environment with an ethos that is deeply demonstrated in David Trubridge’s steadfast dedication to sourcing sustainability and environmentally-conscious materials. Where possible, all timber is acquired from sustainable plantations in New Zealand and America; wood is left natural where aesthetically appropriate; and organic, non-toxic oils are employed in place of harmful, chemical-laden solvents. Shipping and freight footprints are also significantly reduced with the inception of the Seed System, where existing models were redesigned to be components that ship to global markets as compact kitsets.

Here’s a glimpse at a few shining examples of a lifelong love for light:

David’s pristine Pola, a pendant treasured for its distinctive aesthetics, is swathed in snowflake patterns and solar-like flares, is entirely constructed from 92 snowflake shapes cut from bamboo plywood, and is easily assembled with push-in, nylon clips. Pola is available in 2 sizes with a single control emanating source.

The Pola

The Navicula is undeniably redolent of the many microscopic diatoms that indiscriminately float around the oceans, with no destination and no course.  An ingenious “lit-from-within” luminary that is artisan-crafted from thinly-carved pieces of CNC-cut bamboo plywood and eerily resembles a flowing structure of sorts, instantly floods surrounding living spaces with ethereal, mesmerizing light patterns. The Navicula is available in 3 sizes, complete with a row of LED pin-point lights that are securely situated and affixed inside this stunning piece.

The Navicula

To learn more about David Trubridge, please visit