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Adventurer/designer David Trubridge’s Baskets of Knowledge series typifies his view of design as a vehicle for cultural storytelling. Based on a native Māori creation myth from his adopted New Zealand home, the pendant light’s cradle-like form in bamboo is held by hand frosted panels and denotes knowledge of the natural world (Kete Aronui) given to man from the gods. Companion fixtures in polycarbonate symbolize the spiritual realm (Kete Tuatea) and in aluminum for the rational world (Kete Tuauri.) Mythology notwithstanding, the distinctive Bamboo Basket makes a most striking statement in its own right.
“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."