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).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.