David Trubridge Interview
Environment is inspiration for British-born, New Zealand–based David Trubridge, but eco-design is a label he eschews: “We do everything we can, but this greenwashing trend can create a dangerous complacency.” Trubridge’s sculptural wooden pendant lamps have achieved ubiquity in the window displays of Design Within Reach showrooms across the country, and he recently produced a unique outdoor hanging sculpture for the new King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia.
What's your ideal working environment?
A sand dune by the beach.
What's your dream commission, and what do you wish that you'd designed?
The KAUST project is pretty much ideal, as a one-off toward the art end of the spectrum. I would love to have designed one of Richard Serra's Torqued Elipses; his vision and the scale ofthe work are amazing.
What music keeps you thinking about design?
Everything from Miles Davis to world music to Portishead -- but Bob Dylan is essential. I saw him live back in the late 1960s and then more recently: He is the same he -- and I am the same me -- but we've both grown and evolved.
Is there a specific object that changed how you think about design?
Ron Arad's Water in the Southern Hemisphere is fascinating. He and his craftsmen were able to produce this incredible, nearly impossible piece.
Where do you see your profession in 20 years?
Cultures are historically defined by their art, but we've lost that and replaced it with a consumer binge. Designers are crucial to the future, creating objects that are like nourishing foods: lasting, with a sense of identity and sufficiency inherent within them.
And your last words?
"Keep doing it."