At this year’s Milan Fair, Nicky Lobo caught up with David Trubridge and found that travel is still his primary influence. His new rug collection for TSAR is proof of this.
19 June, 2013
A trained Naval Architect, Trubridge has long held a fascination with the sea and all the drama that ocean travel offers. Sailing with his young family in the 1980’s from the UK to eventually settle in New Zealand, to this day all of Trubridge’s works continue to express a deep admiration for nature – its changing forms, its power and all its inherent beauty.
’The Elements’ Installation
Nicky Lobo: Can you tell me a bit about the inspiration behind this design (Trubridge’s Elements Installation incorporating Swarovski chandeliers)?
David Trubridge: When I look back on the pattern of my life, I find there are many different stages, from when I was working in Britain, to when I was travelling, that all somehow relate to the Earth’s natural elements. For instance, when I was in Britain, I milled timber, so I was also surrounded by the earthy soil and forests of Britain. Then when I took my family on a boat, sailing from Europe to New Zealand, I was surrounded by water. And so it goes on from there, each phase of my life is somehow intimately related to one of the four natural elements, and thus, this installation is made to represent each one of them. It is the cycle of life. I didn’t want to be type cast with my designs, so I wanted to step out and try something new.
NL: So, is your partnership with TSAR your first collaboration outside of what you normally do?
DT: Well, in the past I have worked with Bleux Design, based in Sydney, and last year I worked with Hemptech, which is a New Zealand textile company. But, yes, this rug is different to what I have done before. It is about the natural landscape, about different parts of the world and the patterns of those specific locations.
NL: How have you seen a change in Milan over your years of coming here?
DT: I started in a tiny little booth 12 years ago. And from ‘there’ to ‘here’ is certainly a long way. I remember when I saw the Cappellini showroom for the first time, and I thought it was just amazing. And now, here I am exhibiting – it is just fantastic.
I try and look around the fair each year, and I’m always impressed by the quality of the work – I’m especially impressed by SaloneSatellite this year. In a way, I sometimes find Milan sad: there are so many good projects, and I just wonder, how many will actually be able to make it? There are just so little opportunities these days – big companies tend to only stick with what they know, with who they know. So, I believe there will be a lot more self-made-production, much like what I do.
NL: So you do think it is harder now?
DT: It is harder because the big companies are taking less and less risk these days. But on the other hand, we have shown the younger generation that it can be done, that you can build a name and a brand. But it doesn’t happen overnight, the younger generation cannot expect to get successful straight away. Even 10 or 15 years ago, the only way people could get their designs seen was through partnerships with big companies, but now it is extremely different. There are other pathways.
NL: I believe you gave a talk earlier at SaloneSatellite, what was that about?
DT: It was mainly about craft in design – the value of craft in the design world today. I also talked about self-production, and my life and influences.
NL: What other kind of collaborations would you like to work on in the future?
DT: Well, basically anything really. I have seven people in my design studio, and we are capable of a lot of exciting collaborations. We are designing carpet, fabric, lighting – we already produce lots of stuff, and are always looking for new endeavours.
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