Spectacular new kitsets launched by David Trubridge at Wanted Design

During New York Design Week this year (May 9-20) visitors to the Big Apple were spoiled for choice for interesting design venues, galleries and intriguing design events to attend. Not-to-be-missed is Wanted Design, held each year in the exceptional landmark Terminal Stores building on 11th Avenue in the meat-packing district. This is where CO designer David Trubridge has exhibited for the past four years – and his booth is always a highlight (pun intended, of course).

Wanted Design

Source: wanteddesignnyc.com

This year there was a lot going on over the three-day show that was visited by over 10,000 design lovers. Trubridge and his team built a sumptuous booth anchored by a giant bespoke floor-to-ceiling tree-like canopy. He launched several new “Seed System” lighting kitsets, exhibited a couple of prototypes, showed us his new line of fine jewellery and presented a suite of furniture now available in build-it-yourself kitsets. Just another day in the life of David Trubridge!

Wanted144aDavid Trubridge in his booth at Wanted Design (Source: David Trubridge)

The idea of the Seed System build-it-yourself kitset is central to David Trubridge’s work. He lives and works in New Zealand where his small company is continually doing all it can to reduce its environmental footprint. Yet his clientele is global and Trubridge has determined that the most positive thing that his small company can do for the environment is to reduce the volume of freight that he transports around the world.

UnpackedKouraSeed System Koura pendant kitset (Source: David Trubridge)

Packaging and shipping a light as a kitset results in about 1/40th the volume of freight compared with shipping the same light, assembled. So the kitsets dramatically minimize the overall volume of freight being shipped out of David Trubridge  Ltd. Of course, shipping the kitsets (as opposed to the assembled lights) all the way from New Zealand also makes them more affordable.

SnowflakeIce2Snowflake (Source: David Trubridge)

The Seed System has therefore become an integral part of Trubridge’s design practice, which means a growing range of his iconic designs are becoming available as kitsets to be assembled by the end user. This year, some of Trubridge’s most spectacular designs were added to that list: the Sola and Snowflake pendant lights and the Swish light are now available as flat pack kitsets, launched at Wanted Design.


Swish kitset (Source: Galerie CO)

Trubridge also showcased his Pequod lightshade (in small and large), which mimics the ripples of the ocean using pieces of bamboo and polycarbonate.

IMG_20140517_160924“Pequod” lightshade (right) (Source: Galerie CO)

Alongside the new kitset offerings, Trubridge exhibited two prototype designs. The first, Hush, is a dome-shaped pendant light fashioned with a constellation of LED lights set above a layer of recycled polypropylene felt, chosen for its sound absorbing properties so it is effectively a light fixture that doubles as an acoustic device. The second prototype, Belle, is a new pendant and wall sconce made from overlapping bamboo pieces. Both Hush and Belle are formed with signature Trubridge modules of interlocking elements to allow for flat-pack shipping and assembly without tools.


Hush pendant (Source: David Trubridge)

Trubridge also exhibited a selection of indoor/outdoor furniture. His redesigned Ruth and Dondola rockers are now suitable for the outdoors, and can both also be supplied shipped as a flat pack kitset. The Ruth rocking chair was inspired by Australian designer Ruth McDermott with whom David Trubridge exhibited at the Milan Furniture Fair in his early years. She encouraged him to design a rocking chair, which he did, and he called it “Ruth”. Using the new kitset, Trubridge estimates that we can build our own “Ruth” in 20 to 30 minutes.


Ruth rocker, kitset (Source: David Trubridge)

The second kitset is the extraordinarily graceful rocker – Dondola. According to Trubridge, the name comes from the Italian word for rocker that, as a happy coincidence, rhymes with gondola, which also rocks gracefully as it transports its passengers around Venice.


Dondola rocker kitset (Souce: David Trubridge)

Mark your calendar for next year’s Wanted Design in NYC. It’s a design destination chock full of interesting exhibitors and there’s no reason to think that David Trubridge won’t be back for year 5 with a new crop of inspiring designs to lust after.

Colourful-Seed-System-Kitset-Bamboo-LightsCoulourful Coral and Floral kitset pendants (Source: David Trubridge)

They take New York…CO designers shine at the ICFF

Congratulations to CO designers NLXL and Ronel Jordaan for each winning one of the very prestigious ICFF Editors Awards over the weekend at New York’s 2014 International Contemporary Furniture Fair.

Every year, the ICFF convenes the industry’s top editors and invites them to scout the floor of the Jacob Javits Center to choose the best of the best of the year’s design crop. This year, the award for “Best Wallcovering” went to the small Dutch company NLXL for its latest collection of wallpaper, “Archives by Studio Job”.  The award for “Best Textiles” went to Ronel Jordaan Textiles from South Africa for her sublimely beautiful felt work.

NLXL All designs backdrop Lookbook LoRes

Collection “Archives by Studio Job” (source: NLXL)

In the four years since we’ve been working with NLXL, this is the second time they’ve won this coveted award – the first time being for their inaugural collection, Piet Hein Eek’s wildly successful “Scrapwood Wallpaper”. This year the win was for their bold collection of seven expressive designs, which is a retrospective of sorts of the history of design studio Studio Job. The wallpaper collection had its European debut in April 2014 to critical acclaim at the Salone del Mobile in Milan.

Studio Job Archives Wallpaper

“Withered flowers” (colour) (source: NLXL)

To create the intricate patterns for the nine metre rolls of wallpaper, NLXL meticulously combed through the archives at Studio Job taking images from their extensive library. The references are both traditional and topical, organic and artificial, and convey a narrative that is ornamental, sophisticated, playful and ironic.

NLXL original_nlxl-archives-wallpaper-by-studio-job-alt-deutsch

“Alt Deutsch”, detail (source [cropped]: NLXL)

Studio Job (founded in 2000 by Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel) is known for its eccentric and expressive work that combines a high level of craftsmanship with extreme ornamentation. We agree that these intricate and opulent designs translate beautifully into wallpaper.

Studio Job Archives Wallpaper

 Source: NLXL

By contrast, Ronel Jordaan  a well-established felt artist with an international reputation who lives and works in Johannesburg South Africa, is inspired primarily by nature. Her felted designs eloquently and playfully infuse contemporary interiors with the beauty, simplicity and serenity of the outdoors.

Ronel Jordaan

“Porcupine cushion” (source: Ronel Jordaan)

Using 100% merino wool, Ronel lets her imagination run wild in the creation of rock cushions, pebble carpets, intricately accented wall hangings and throws, opulent floral cushions, and more. We started working with Ronel six years ago, drawn in initially by her collection of “rocks” and “boulders” that cleverly mimic the look of natural stone. Her use of natural dyes and the subtle shading in her work give it a minimalist, realistic and earthy appeal.

Ronel Jordaan 3

Hand-felted merino wool rocks and boulders (source: Ronel Jordaan)

Among other pieces showing in New York were her hand-felted merino wool boulders and rock cushions in metallic finishes – covered with silver leaf, bronze, and combinations that incorporated the natural charcoal grey of her traditional felted rocks.

Ronel Jordaan 4

Felted throw (source: Ronel Jordaan)

All of Jordaan’s felt pieces are made with an eye to environmental and social responsibility. The wool is treated by hand, the soap used is biodegradable, the dyes are lead free, and they grey wastewater is used to grow a vegetable garden. Job creation and training are also at the forefront and under her guidance over  40 previously unemployed women have been trained and are now felters of international standing themselves.

Ronel Jordaan Ndebele Chairs

Ndebele chairs (source: Ronel Jordaan)

Galerie CO is proud to be working with such innovative, responsible and exciting designers and we congratulate them again on the well-deserved recognition they received in New York.

We can’t wait to see what they’ll do next.


Designer in depth: HAM’s Jo Robinson

Jo Robinson is an extremely talented lady. Based in London, she studied art at The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. She is a print maker and creates limited edition silk screen prints employing a process that brings together mixed media collage, monochrome photogram, and digital finishing. Her work has been exhibited at Liberty London, The Other Art Fair, the London Design Festival and Modern Art Oxford and can been seen on her personal art website.


Jo in her studio

In addition to her fine art prints, Jo has had extraordinary success with her whimsical collection of homewares, stationary and prints characterized by monochrome silhouettes of a pig, a rabbit and a horse engaged in a multitude of unexpected activities. The collection was launched in 2011, under the brand name HAM. The entire collection is made in the UK  and Jo hand-pulls all of the screen prints in her East London studio.

HAM PRINTSeesawing rabbit print frame

Since launching HAM, Jo has gone from strength to strength and her quirky, minimalist designs are now available throughout Britain and in select design-led boutiques around the world. Despite her busy schedule, we’re grateful that she took the time to sit down with us to answer a few questions.

What is the first thing you remember creating?

I have a very strong memory of making a ‘landscape’ painting at my primary school. I must have been about six and was so obsessed with getting it right I kept drawing and painting, then drawing and painting, so much so I made a hole right in the middle of the picture which I reluctantly had to patch with tissue paper. It was at that point I learned that sometimes less is more!

I understand that you were brought up on a farm. Has that inspired your art and if so, how?

I loved growing up in the British countryside – surrounded by inspiration and adventure. Drawings of rural life and its characters filled the pages of my sketchbook with my parents farm, a menagerie of dogs, cats, rabbits, pigs, cows, donkeys and sheep being my points of reference. I also developed an interest in documenting the everyday and was constantly seeking to capture on paper the people around me going about their regular rituals. This fascination with British quirkiness and the mundane stuck and has underpinned much of my creative practice to date.

!cid_6521E1D1-F362-4011-A754-71FA4DC40244@homeLined A5 HAM notebooks

The name HAM and HAMmade works on so many levels vis a vis your imagery. Where did the name came from?

HAM is my maiden name!

You went to art school in Oxford. What did you take away from art school and how did you make the transition to design?

I knew in the last year of my degree at The Ruskin that I wasn’t yet ready to become an artist. There was still so much of the world that I needed to learn about before I could confidently provide visual comment. Subsequently I gained a place on a creative management-training scheme and spent the next two years at a number of design agencies in London and the US. At the end of the programme I joined a brand consultancy as a strategist. During this time I continued to draw and paint whenever I could and in 2010, with a set of silhouette sketches and an idea, took the plunge and left my job. A year later HAM’s first collection was launched.

!cid_A2A6B566-3A6B-44F3-AC4D-52DB7A301093 - Copy

Bouncing rabbit tea towel

Any mentors? Any important lessons that you learned along the way?

My family is a very important support system. Running your own business is a massive balancing act and getting everything done in itself is a huge challenge but one that is incredibly rewarding and couldn’t be achieved without the help of the brilliant people around me. My mum constantly reminds me –‘if it was easy everyone would do it!’

Why a pig, rabbits and a horse?

The brand’s protagonists were constructed in my head but loosely based on the farmyard characters that surrounded me growing up: a pig called Primrose, a rabbit called Humphrey and a donkey called Snowflake (as close as I could get to a horse!) As a child I often imagined them interacting like us but decided very early on to keep Pig, Horse and Rabbit named as such as I didn’t want them to be defined by any predetermined stereotypes, thus leaving the viewer free to build their own story.

ham-partying-pig-printPartying pig screen print

You have been said to have a “deft flair for the witty” and your work, which is charming, unexpected and amusing, has been described as reflecting a fascination for the banal in terms of the everyday subject matter that you depict. Is that a description you would use, and can you expand on that a little?

Absolutely. The aim was to create a piece of serious design that was understated and simple but full of personality, to bring to life scenarios far away from twee that were unexpected but somehow completely believable. It’s really important to me that HAM is upbeat and centred around stories that we can all relate to. Humour plays a key part and successfully weaving this into each silhouette is a tough challenge but one that’s more than worth it when you see people connect with the designs.

How has your business evolved since creating HAM? How has the journey been for you?  

It has been quite a journey. It’s happened so quick! Although it is demanding I am really enjoying the roller coaster.

What’s the biggest challenge (if one exists) associated with HAM’s commitment to supporting British industry? What are the rewards?

I don’t feel there are any specific challenges – I see it as a huge positive. You can have face-to-face meetings, the lead times are often shorter, the carbon footprint is lower and you are supporting livelihoods as well as the traditional skills and processes that are such an important part of the UK’s historical and cultural make-up.

!cid_BBF44A38-A0A5-48E9-8293-636B48070FEB@homeButton lift rabbit and ski jumping rabbit cards

What’s next for HAM?

Four more Rabbits are about to launch and I’m aiming to introduce a brand new animal to the HAM clan later this year – there’s huge debate about what it should be… suggestions welcome!

We want to help Jo pick the new animal for HAM. Head over to our Facebook page and give us your opinion.

You could win a tea towel printed with one of HAM’s first-ever prints: the bouncing rabbit.



All images are courtesy of Jo Robinson.


Heirloom tomatoes and tarts

It’s time to start planting your garden. If you are like me, you yearn for a sunny vegetable garden, but have to make do with a deck and some planters. Because space is limited, the decision about what to grow becomes important. I prioritize my herb choices, happily giving up parsley for sage, and losing oregano to thyme. And when it comes to tomatoes, I look for heirloom varieties, because if I can only grow a couple of plants I want them to be interesting, packed with flavour and gorgeous.

heirloom gourmet fury

Source (cropped): goumetfury.com

 What are the characteristics of “heirloom” vegetables?

  • Old. There is agreement that heirloom varieties must be old although no agreement on how old. Some say over 100 years, others say over 50 years, and still others other point to 1945 which coincided with the beginning of widespread hybrid use by growers and seed companies.
  • Open-pollinated. Heirloom varieties must be open-pollinated, which means that they are pollinated by insects, birds, wind or other natural mechanisms and are, by definition, not hybrids.
  • Cultivars. Heirlooms of all types are cultivated varieties (not wild) that have been deliberately selected for specific characteristics, and demonstrate consistent flavour, texture, colour and yields, for example.

Apart from their good looks and their great taste, it is vital to keep a wide range of heirloom vegetables (and flowers, trees, and livestock) growing from year to year to maximize the gene pool for future generations because vegetable varieties can become extinct just like any other living thing.

heirloom gardentherapy

Source: gardentherapy.com

It is thought that in the 20th century alone, around 75% of food crop varieties disappeared due to the spread of industrial agriculture and the movement of farmers towards monoculture – focusing on one crop – in the case of tomatoes, hybridized varieties bred for their commercially attractive characteristics. This alarming rate of genetic erosion places our conventional food supply at risk from plant epidemics and infestations as the line between abundance and potential disaster becomes thinner and thinner.

heirloom tomatoes (npr.com)

Source: npr.com

At Galerie CO we’re promoting heirloom tomatoes for Mother’s Day. On Saturday May 10 and Sunday May 11 we will give away a free heritage tomato seedling with any purchase of $60.00 and over (not including tax). The seedlings are grown organically in the Eastern Townships by Gwynne Basen of Tomatoes Etc. The offer is good until we run out of seedlings with a limit of one seedling per customer.

heirloom Tomato CostolutoGenoveseZ

Source: loghouseplants.com

To get you thinking about the culinary delicacies you could concoct with said tomatoes, I’m going to leave you with a mouth-watering recipe for an heirloom tomato tart from Julia Dawson, a wonderful Montreal food writer. This recipe appeared on the blog “The Main” and was inspired by the fresh heirloom tomatoes grown at Montreal’s Lufa Farms, which we featured recently on the blog.

heirloom tomato tart the main mtl

Source: www.themainmtl.com

Heirloom tomato tart

Serves 6

For the filling and topping:

  • 5 ounces goat’s cheese
  • 1 shallot, peeled and diced
  • 1½ teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves (plus a couple sprigs for garnish)
  • 3-4 small/medium sized tomatoes, cut into ½” slices
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

For the tart crust:

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3to 4 tablespoons ice water


In a food processor, pulse flour and salt together. Add the butter pieces and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal (there should be a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining). Add 2 tablespoons ice water through the feeding tube of the food processor. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (if necessary, add up to 2 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon at a time). Be careful not to over-mix, as it will toughen the dough.

On a floured surface, shape dough lightly into a disk. Wrap in cling-film and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days).

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Lightly flour work surface and roll out dough into a round that is a couple of inches larger than your pie plate. Prick the dough with a fork and wrap it around rolling pin and unroll over the pie plate. Gently fit into bottom and up sides of the baking plate and trim the excess.

Bake the crust in the preheated oven for 10 minutes (pre-baking a crust like this is called “baking blind” – it will help it from getting soggy from the filling).


In a medium bowl lightly toss to combine shallots, thyme and goat cheese. Spread into the bottom of warm tart shell and using the back of a spoon, spatula, or your fingers to cover bottom of tart.

Arrange tomato slices in a fan pattern with edges slightly overlapping each other. Drizzle olive oil over tomatoes and top with Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly before serving.

heirloom tomato-varieties tomato geeks

Source: tomatogeeks.com

What are your favourite tomato recipes? Let us know in the comments below, on Facebook or on Twitter . We love to hear from you!