The Art of Steam Bending by David Trubridge

We turn our attention now to David Trubridge, one of New Zeland’s most iconic and innovative furniture designers in an engaging short film I enjoyed watching earlier this morning. Created as a means to document the process behind one of the designers creations we are taken inside the company workshop and offered a glimpse of the Sling model being built which is part of the limited edition signature range. As you might of guessed already through the title of this article the majority of this process is centred around steam-bending ash wood and fixing this into the eye pleasing shape similar to that found in the image above. For those of us that haven’t come across Davids work before he’s predominantly a lighting and furniture designer often in the medium of wood. This wasn’t always the case however and it was his own life story that fascinated me most upon browsing his company website.

David originally began his career studying Naval architecture in Newcastle here in England where his designs were exhibited all around the country from the Victoria and Albert Museum, St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh and the Shipley Galler, Newcastle. He then moved to Northumberland and renovated a ruined cottage with his wife before selling everything they had and investing it in a yacht which they would spend five years sailing across the Caribbean and Pacific, stoping to work when they needed to in the Virgin and Tahiti islands. It was this time in their Pacific travels that has influenced the style of furniture that David Makes today, at the time he created a series of chairs made similar to outrigger canoes: light and flexible structures that were held together with string lashings. Looking at his present work with this as a reference point you can really see how his style has developed and why he’s been able to create furniture from a fresh perspective.

With their young family to think of the couple decided to settle in New Zealand in 1985 so their boys could attend school, here David would design and build their house which lead to further work for him as an architect. In 2001 his designs began to gain international recognition with one of his yacht’s being shown at the Salone Satelitte furniture fair in Milan and selected for production by Cappellini. Today his business is making sales the world over as he designs and manufactures his own lighting and furniture from his studio in New Zealand. I’m sure many of you are going to enjoy seeing this piece being put together, all the more after a bit of context about the man who designed it. If you’re still curious after watching the film below I’d urge you to make the click across to Davids website to see more. In the meantime press play below and enjoy!