David Trubridge news

Date: 5 March 2012 3:37:02 PM NZDT

To: “art@winecountrygallery.com” <art@winecountrygallery.com>

Subject: ICARUS in permanent collection of the Pompidou Centr


ICARUS is purchased for the permanent collection of the Pompidou Centre in Paris.




ICARUS is purchased for the permanent collection of the Pompidou Centre in Paris.

In February 2012 the Pompidou Centre purchased three large works for its permanent design collection by New Zealand designer David Trubridge.

This acquisition is a rare honour for a contemporary designer, and it is the first time the internationally renowned museum has acquired items created by a modern designer that focus on ‘sustainable development.’ Trubridge is viewed in France as being one of world’s leading ‘eco-conscious designers’.

The pieces acquired by the Pompidou Centre will be part of its extraordinary collection of Modern design classics, and important prototypes. The current plan is to show the work early next year in the Centre’s next show. The Pompidou Centre is one of the three most prestigious institutions of its kind in the western world, the other two being the Victoria and Albert museum in London (where Trubridge already has a jewellery box) and MOMA in New York.

The three pieces are the parts of an installation called Icarus which was first shown at the Milan Salone del Mobile in April 2010 at Superstudio Piu. The installation is based on the Greek legend of Icarus, and is made up of two luminous polycarbonate Wing lights circling around Sola, a patterned wooden sphere, coloured orange inside, to represent the Sun. It incorporates a vital moral for our times, reminding us not to get carried away with our technology and hubris because if we do the Sun might get too hot. Trubridge’s fascination with timeless stories reflects his belief that design can do more than ‘prettify’ or provide technical solutions – it can also play a social or cultural role. He likes to repeat a quote he heard: “if we had more stories we would have less guns.”

  • “Trubridge is viewed in France as being one of world’s leading ‘eco-conscious designers”. – Moa
  • The pieces acquired by the Pompidou Centre will be part of its extraordinary collection of Modern design classics, and important prototypes.
  • This success is shared by David Trubridge with his French Distibutor/Agent Moa – Meubles et Objets de Aotearoa
  • “It seems certain now that Trubridge’s work has passed from a phase of ‘interesting newcomer’ on the European scene to influential classic”. – Moa


Icarus follows a pattern that Trubridge has established at Milan of showing captivating sculptural installations conceived around a story, which are made up from lighting units that can go on to be marketed as individual products. The extra dimension of the story has captivated the press and public, over and above the creative forms of the lights. To reduce environmental impact, all these large Milan installations were transported as airline luggage and assembled on site, and that too becomes part of the story.

Trubridge has been well known for constructing complex forms using sheet materials and computer modelling to unroll strips like an unpeeled apple. This technique has allowed Trubridge to keep his production in New Zealand by transporting flat-pack (professionally built in market) and kitset (assembled by the purchaser) lights in boxes which are 1/40th and less of their final size. This reduces the environmental impact and dollar cost of transporting his work, both of which are vital for exporters, particularly in New Zealand. Additionally the consumer gets the enjoyment and fulfilment of making the light themselves. From Trubridge’s promotional material for the kitset lights: “Seed System designs are only made possible through your involvement as you grow your kitset into a lightshade. Together we have helped to minimise the effect of shipping to reduce the number of trucks on the road, and decrease the design’s environmental footprint.”

/ Thanks goes to / www.moaroom.com

This success is shared by David Trubridge with moa – Meubles et Objets de Aotearoa – who have carefully managed Trubridge’s distribution and press relations over the past seven years in France. The Franco-New Zealand design firm is founded by Laurence Varga and Roderick Fry who have been determined since the beginning of their relationship with the designer that his presence should be long-lasting and extremely well-considered.

Now managing 100 or so relationships with galleries and design showrooms in key towns and cities in France, Benelux and Switzerland, the couple have carefully selected who they work with. On a number of occasions this has meant waiting up to a year to programme an exhibition or a window display of Trubridge’s work in the best gallery in a town rather than sell quickly to a less appropriate one. The second compromise to rapid recognition for Trubridge’s work was the early decision to refuse many shops’ demands that lights be transported already assembled.

“Bi-passing the kitset concept would have been a much easier and faster way to introduce David’s work to the French public,” says Varga. “The lights were instantly appreciated for their simple beauty. Wooden lights were so rare at the time that there was already enough ‘newness’ about them. But much of what makes David’s work interesting is his ideology and conviction that we can design to better use our earth’s resources, and reduce the detrimental effects of transport. That would have would have been completely lost with assembled lights.”

Trubridge has visited the Milan show every year for the last 12 years to present his evolving collection of work and further illustrate his convictions and priorities in design. The last three year’s shows: Icarus, Baskets of Knowledge and Spiral islands have been extremely thought provoking and photogenic and have all led to major commissions with European architects.

After a flying start by being edited by the very highly respected Cappellini in 2001, Trubridge still had to come a long long way in Europe since then. In 2007 and 2008, when sales were still modest, moa started working with stylists for some very impressive and highly visible presentations. At one point all of the windows of Printemp’s department store on Boulevard Haussman were filled with Trubridge lights alongside the fashion of Lanvin and Stella McCartney. The initial collection by Kate Moss for Top Shop was launched under a bouquet of almost one of each light model, and three times moa has been given windows of the design boutique in the Pompidou Centre’s lobby to display Trubridge’s work alongside its own designs and those of other New Zealand designers.

To strengthen the impact of such collaborations moa has also worked closely with design journalists to allow the French to understand the philosophy behind the work. In modern day media-ruled Europe designers are solicited for far more than just their ability to conceive aesthetically pleasing objects, they are looked to for almost ‘philosophical’ answers to questions like ‘what should the priorities be in our society in the near future?’ Twice moa has arranged for journalists from two of France’s most influential publications to visit Trubridge in the Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand to understand more about his unique points of difference with the European design scene.


It seems certain now that Trubridge’s work has passed from a phase of ‘interesting newcomer’ on the European scene to ‘influential classic’. He was even credited last year by architect Denis Montel, designer of Paris’s most exciting new interior design space of the last few years at Hermès, as being of great importance.

“The Hermes shop project in the Lutetia pool displays openly a sensitivity and a movement which pays homage to traditional forms and craft techniques, drawing from it a fruitful inspiration, especially in its observation and respect for nature. “This expression is shared by many artists in different disciplines, including architecture, design and art, who draw on these sources and affirm these values, including the designer David Trubridge, a dominant player in this movement.”




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