Ideas + Inspiration, Tours

Around the World with David Trubridge

Internationally acclaimed lighting designer David Trubridge needs no introduction; his distinctive designs do it for him. His lighting draws attention and praise for its innovative manufacturing, styling, and design. The designer’s company often describes his aesthetic as “raw sophistication.”

Perhaps one of the most remarkable aspects of Trubridge’s designs is that, although they are always created in his signature style, the lighting structures complement whatever spaces they are in–enhancing the natural architecture rather than overpowering it–despite the lighting’s large scale. Even in dramatically different settings, Trubridge’s lighting adds warmth, depth, and creative spark. Here are just a few:

Heron Hall (Bainbridge Island, WA)

Project by Jason F. McLennan. Photography by Daniel Banko (Banko Media) & Declan McLennan. Images courtesy of wakaNINE

One feature many Trubridge designs have in common is their connection to a natural environment. Take Heron Hall, the Bainbridge Island, WA home of Jason F. McLennan, which mixes highly ornamental elements like stained glass panels and double height volume ceilings, and contemporary finishes like reclaimed wood panels and cement gray walls.

McLennan, who founded the Living Building Challenge, aspired to build and occupy his house exclusively with sustainably sourced, designed, and created materials. His obsession with green building and living brought him into contact with Trubridge’s designs early in his career, and McLennan’s Heron Hall project was the ultimate opportunity to showcase his sustainability-minded colleague’s designs.

Project by Jason F. McLennan. Daniel Banko (Banko Media) & Declan McLennan. Image courtesy of wakaNINE

Says McLennan, “We needed lights with real presence – that could occupy the volume with dignity, yet spoke to our sustainability values. There is something magical at night that happens when the lights are on and the patterns are cast on our walls.”

While the indoor space is quite dramatic, even more dramatic is the natural setting of the home: nestled in the banks of one of Bainbridge Island’s many water sources. The reeds, plants, and trees outside lend themselves to the complementary look of Trubdridge’s lighting. In this case, several Coral Pendant Lights and Hinaki Pendant Lights mirror those organic shapes, and create a gorgeous effect even after the sun sets.

Camp 4 Wine Cafe (Modesto, CA)

Project by Hannah Collins. Photography by Lauren Edith Andersen. Images courtesy of wakaNINE

Trubridge’s contributions to West Coast landmarks continue with his work at Modesto’s Camp 4 Wine Cafe, a dramatically different, yet equally impactful, venture. Again, Trubridge’s designs pay homage to the natural environment, this time reflecting the Cafe’s connections to Yosemite Valley.

Owned and run by the family of outdoor clothier Royal Robbins, Camp 4 Wine Cafe’s decor has the down-home feel of a well-maintained family restaurant, elevated by Trubridge’s Koura Pendant Lights. The basketweave of the fixtures lifts attention upward to the industrial-inspired ceiling, and also creates a glowing, cozy atmosphere for evening dining.

Mosaic Centre (Edmonton, Canada)

Project by Verdan Skopac. Images courtesy of wakaNINE

The Mosaic Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, is Canada’s first net-zero commercial building. As conceived by its founders, beyond its super-efficiency, the most important things were to have a building that was 1) beautiful and 2) a space in which people would be happy.

Essential to all of these aspects was the lighting that would be in the building. It needed to be sustainably made, energy-efficient and beautiful. So, it was most fortuitous that the Mosaic Centre founders, Dennis Cuku and Christy Benoit, met David Trubridge at the 2015 Living Future unConference (in Seattle). Their shared core value–building things of beauty sustainably–resulted in a most beneficial partnership.

Upon its completion, the building was recognized as a “beacon for the city of Edmonton,” a task made much easier with the proliferation throughout of Trubridge’s bright and voluminous lighting designs. (All of Trubridge’s most popular designs are on hand.)

And There’s More…

Despite the dramatic differences of these spaces, Trubridge light fixtures are as elegant and charming as ever in each situation. The designer’s use of natural materials is borne out of a desire to create environmentally conscious consumer pieces that simultaneously bring people back to nature.

By populating urban or contemporary environments with Trubridge’s natural, wood grained light fixtures, clients incorporate an airy, organic element into otherwise industrial spaces. This styling, coupled with the company’s environmentally-driven manufacturing choices (all Trubridge products are LEED and Green Star certified), make David Trubridge designs invaluable additions to modern interiors.

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Beyond designing sophisticated lighting with sustainably sourced materials, David Trubridge’s manufacturing process was restructured in the mid-2000s to dramatically reduce the environmental impact caused by shipping products. Rather than shipping whole pieces, the elements of the whole are arranged separately into a flatpack shipping box that the company dubbed the “seed system.” Now, customers all over the world can receive Trubridge fixtures and easily assemble them. The company views this feature as a success both environmentally and relationally, as it involves the customer in the creation cycle of each piece.

Well beyond involving customers in the process, Trubridge’s designs’ connective, woven aesthetic wrap the rooms they inhabit in light, warmth, and shadowed patterns. Each piece, while unique, offers a special experience for viewers that few other design elements can emanate. By bringing the outdoors indoors, David Trubridge’s signature collections connect homes and businesses to the natural world in an elegant, powerful manner. This makes each piece a valuable addition to any contemporary lighting design.

Lauren Walters

Lauren Walters

Lauren Walters is a freelance writer and marketer who lives in Sacramento. She loves good design, cooking, and antique stores. When she's not writing or moving her furniture around her house, you can find her out hiking Northern California's amazing trails.

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