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The harakeke, also known as flax, is a New Zealand indigenous plant prized for its valuable fiber. As the Maori proverb goes, “If you cut the central stalk of the flax bush, where will the bellbird feed?” Designer David Trubridge celebrates that aphorism with his Flax Pendant Light, inspired by the plant’s spreading leaves. A love for earth drove the construction: its made of renewable bamboo and flat-packed to reduce freighting and packaging resources and the identical pieces make home assembly a snap, literally. Endlessly adaptable, the light is available in 2 sizes and 9 stock colors (custom colors upon request) in natural or painted bamboo with nylon clip fasteners.
The celebrated designing craftsman ended up in his adopted home of New Zealand after he, his wife and their 2 sons sold everything and set off sailing on a world adventure. Their voyage culminated years later in 1985 when they decided to remain in New Zealand. While an artist-in-residence, David built a house and suddenly found himself with further commissions. Before realizing homes, lamps and furniture, he left Newcastle University in 1972 with a degree in Naval architecture. His work has appeared in countless museums, including the Victoria & Albert and the Pompidou Centre. And that barely scratches the surface of his fascinating story and work ethos.
“I design to communicate, to tell a story,” says the designer David Trubridge, “to relate what I find in the mountains and wilderness and what it is to be human.” Originally trained in boat design, David taught himself how to make furniture and his early work was widely heralded in his native UK. Turning a page in the early 1980s, he and his young family sold everything they had and set sail on their yacht “Hornpipe” around the Caribbean and the Pacific, while he built houses for clients living on nearby islands.
Arriving in New Zealand a few years later, David began to create furnishings inspired by his time at sea and eventually expanded to include his distinctive lighting, becoming an influential presence in the design world. An environmental sensibility governs his operation there, including recycling factory and studio waste, exclusive use of hydro electricity and eco-supportive shipping and freighting. As David puts it, “If design is not actively trying to preserve our future it is, by default, destroying it."