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 signalled the transformation of the business from a small-scale model to one that has a considerable presence on the international lighting and furniture market.
New Zealand based David Trubridge is one of the world’s preeminent designers and a recognised leader in environmentally responsible design. Countless influential international publications have featured Trubridge’s iconic work, which ultimately launched the ‘raw sophistication’ design trend.
In 2008, the French magazine Express listed him as one of the top 15 designers in the world. He is the recipient of the 2005 Antartica fellow and in 2007 he was given NZ’s highest design award, the John Britten Award, by the Designer’s Institute of NZ.
David Trubridge and his company are active leaders in the design scene, exhibiting regularly in United States, Europe and Asia. Since its founding in 1995, his company David Trubridge Limited, has grown from David Trubridge himself and one assistant to a team of 23. His work is manufactured onsite at the company’s studio in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand and is sold around the world into a myriad of residential, hospitality, commercial and gallery locations. The collection includes approximately 30 lighting designs and a small number of artisan furniture pieces.
The company also has a dedicated design facility DTStudio, which works internationally on commission work, public art and licensed designs for other companies. The studio has worked with Cappellini Italy, Bleux Australia, Hemptech NZ, Tsar Carpets Melbourne and Offecct Sweden. Projects have been completed for Cloudy Bay NZ, Swarovski Crystal, Oroton Australia, Westfield Los Angeles, and Bombay Sapphire NZ.
His design process combines innate craft knowledge, sculptural abstraction and computer design technology. In 2004, he was selected to go to Antarctica as part of a prestigious arts fellowship. Experiencing this austere yet fragile environment further reinforced his drive to create sustainable design and to raise awareness about ecological responsibility in design.
The company holds a myriad of worldwide design awards including 2015 Red Dot awards for its Nikau and Snowflake kitset lightshades. Other awards include Best awards, Good Design Awards, and the IFDA awards. In 2012 the Pompidou Centre in Paris purchased his ‘Icarus’ installation for its permanent collection.