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A Māori creation myth from his adopted New Zealand infuses designer David Trubridge’s Baskets of Knowledge lighting series with a cultural leitmotif. In the aluminum version, the open-chevron pattern of the cradle shape represents knowledge of the rational world (Kete Tuauri). Held by a pair of hand-frosted panels, it corresponds to the other similarly shaped lights in the series—in bamboo representing the natural world (Kete Aronui) and in polycarbonate for the spiritual realm (Kete Tuatea). Yet, even without knowing its origins, the Aluminum Basket makes a compelling impression worth pondering.
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“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."