Rocking recliner, 'New Sling', wood, designed and made by David Trubridge, Havelock North, New Zealand, 2006
Born in the UK, David Trubridge graduated from Newcastle University (UK) in 1972 as a naval architect. For the next ten years he lived and worked in rural Northumberland where he taught himself furniture making. From 1981 to 1985 he sailed the Pacific and the Caribbean with his wife Linda and two young sons. Trubridge settled in New Zealand in 1985 and has since forged an international reputation for his furniture designs in slatted wood. One of his first New Zealand designs, the 'Canoe Chair' , 1989, anticipated the direction of later work in its recourse to marine visual imagery inspired by his travels.
Trubridge's first major work, 'Body Raft' was designed in 2000, launched in Europe at the Milan Furniture Fair in 2001 and has since been put into production by the Italian company Cappellini. In 2002 Trubridge produced the first version of the 'Sling', an elegant curved rocking recliner made from a single layer of steam-bent, slatted hardwood. 'Sling' won the Designers' Institute of New Zealand Best Award 2002 for Best of Product Design/Furniture and was also shown in the Pacific Edge display in the Milan Fair's Salone Satellite 2002. Trubridge's 'Glide' a variant of the 'Sling' was used in the 100% New Zealand tourism advertisements. In 2004 Trubridge and his company Cicada Works designed and made an order for 500 outdoor chairs and tables for the Mirvac resort at Bunker Bay, Western Australia. In December 2004 Trubridge spent 11 days in Antarctica as an Antarctica New Zealand Arts Fellow, an experience that inspired his installation 'On Thin Ice' at the Napier Museum in 2006. In recent years the company has also produced a range of lighting with shades made of slatted hoop pine ply.
'New Sling' is one of Trubridge's most recent projects, a design that marries the construction technique of 'Body Raft' with the simple elegance of 'Sling' in a highly resolved, abstracted 'hammock-like' form that is both furniture and sculpture. In this sense 'New Sling' represents a culmination of the aesthetic that Trubridge has pursued over the last six years, an aesthetic inspired by his love of boats and the sea, the Pacific cultures with which he has come into contact and his concern for sustainable materials and production methods. With its intrinsic contradictions - it is boat-shaped but incapable of floating, solid-looking but see-through, sculptural yet functional - 'New Sling' is Trubridge's most significant design to date.
The rocking recliner was designed and made by David Trubridge Ltd, Cicada Works, Industrial Park, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand in 2006.
The 'New Sling' is David Trubridge's most recent work and is a development of his earlier 'Body Raft' and 'Sling' pieces. This example was made for the Powerhouse Museum.