Body Raft

The story of New Zealand-based designer David Trubridge is that of a man discovering, experimenting, and understanding nature. David’s professional journey is linked to his ongoing relationship with the landscape as a source of energy and inspiration.

Trained as a naval architect in England, David Trubridge began his career as what he describes a “craftsman-designer-maker” submerged in the study of materials properties and capabilities. His first furniture designs borrowed from the admiration of artists like Brancusi and the Art Noveau movement – a period in his career of interpretation and translation rather than experimentation.

In 1981 David set sail around the world to finally settle in 1985 in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. The five-year experience transformed his vision as a designer; he started to focus on the concept and process behind a product rather than the final outcome. This is the story of one of his most celebrated designs, Body Raft, which borrowed from his nautical background. The rocking chaise lounge fabricated in steam-bent American ash and Australian Hoop Pine plywood was exhibited in 2001 in Milan, Italy becoming an instant success among the media and critics. Italian design powerhouse, Cappellini, licensed and began manufacturing the design, which put Trubridge on top of the international design scene.

David Trubridge’s second big success, and probably his best-known design, is the Coral – a light fixture conceived in 2003 based on his underwater experiences and the analysis of the geometric patterns of coral. This is a unit-based design that studies the clustering possibilities of a polyhedron. The lamp is the result of combining multiple CNC-cut bamboo plywood five-pointed stars assembled by the end customer with nylon clips. Being able to ship a flat package and reduce the carbon footprint of all his designs is one of Trubridge’s main goals and what he describes as Seed System – “why fill a truck with one tree, when the cost to the Earth is reduced by packing in boxes of seed?”

Following his success, Trubridge was selected for the Antarctica Arts Fellowship program that enabled him to continue his understanding of nature and in 2007 he was the recipient of a Green Leaf Award presented by the Natural World Art Museum for engaging the public in environmental awareness through his designs. Today, David’s pieces have been exhibited worldwide and are part of the permanent collection of museums including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Pompidou Centre in Paris, and the Minneapolis Design Museum.

We have teamed up with David Trubridge and his United States distributor wakaNINE to give away one Coral Light to a lucky reader. Please send your comments to to be entered into a raffle.


Body Raft detail

Coral lamp

Coral lamp

Matakana lamp commission

Nananu armchair

Various lamps

Seed System (Coral lamp)

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