David Trubridge, the New Zealand-based design studio of international repute, is batting for the environment by phasing out plastic from their products.
The studio has announced that it will immediately pull six products – Bounce, Rise, Roll, Drop, Pequod and Mānuka – from their product line. These six products are part of the thirteen designs with a high plastic content; the remaining products will be progressively phased out during 2019 and early 2020 as the last orders for the items are processed.
Committed to sustainable design practices, David Trubridge studio creates the bulk of their luminaires from sustainably managed bamboo plywood.
“The items being discontinued are close to my heart,” says David Trubridge, director of the company. “I designed them as storytelling prototypes for exhibitions in Milan. With that exposure, the designs were specified into projects globally and even collected by the Pompidou Centre in Paris. At the time we chose the polycarbonate plastic due to its strength and the way it can diffuse light like rice paper. The designs had a lightness and ethereal nature which I still adore.
“Despite this, we can’t go on selling them and still claim we are doing all we can as a company to reduce our environmental footprint. The time has come when we know we won’t find a more eco-alternative to this plastic.”
By phasing out their popular high-value plastic-based products, the studio will be taking a hit on their sales. However, Trubridge has tasked his design team to design new pieces in plywood inspired by these phased-out products, helping the studio find new ways of using plywood. Following the release of Navicula in this range, David Trubridge launched two brand new designs, ‘Maru’ and a set of three ‘Ketes’ in April at Euroluce during Milan design week.
“I have joy in seeing the new designs come off my CNC machine, knowing the wooden off-cuts can easily be dealt with. We had to stockpile all our plastic waste and truck it to a recycling depot. Now our wood waste goes to a local timber mill for efficient incineration to generate electricity in its steam power turbines,” says Trubridge.
Looking to eliminate plastic from their production, the company is replacing plastic-containing fasteners, bubble wrap and tapes with alternatives such as paper tape and compostable zip bags where possible for the essential packaging of nylon clips in the kitsets. The studio is also working with their suppliers to develop alternatives to plastic.
“I’m hoping I can bring light to the use of plastic in industrial design. Designers must think about materiality and lifespan. What are you designing? How long will it be relevant? What will happen to it when it’s discarded? Can you redesign the system rather than the object? I think this is such an exciting time to be a designer. We are all responsible for the future,” Trubridge concluded.
David Trubridge products are available in Australia from Studio Italia.