We were strolling purposefully through Euroluce at Milan Design Week in April a few years ago, seeking elegant, stylish and totally novel sustainable lights of all forms and we were confronted by a Thofothofo.
Not that we knew it was a Thohotfoho, or even what it was for, until we were introduced to a particularly sustainable gentleman in blue t-shirt with decidedly ruffled hair. Introduced to us as David Trubridge from Hastings, New Zealand, one of a kind, a designer and manufacturer of really sustainable lights. But more of the lights soon.
A picture is worth a thousand words so, for brevity, we won’t endeavour to achieve geometric accuracy in describing this several metre long canoe-like skeletal bamboo structure with a long horn of a unicorn towards each end. The skeleton would obviously need an additional skin for water proofing, but the manufacture of a Thofothofo was not the subject of this meeting. It was the catalyst.
David’s passion is the Melanesian and Polynesian peoples and their homelands – the islands of true paradise, that are progressively becoming part of the Pacific Ocean rather than disturbances in its expanses. His mantra is in our words, ’what have they done wrong?’ Maybe they made the British look a bit foolish in navigational skills as they sailed around the Pacific with unerring accuracy thousands of years ahead of the colonists. They are definitely the world’s minimalist polluters, affected only by rubbish distributed by visitors.
There are more questions than answers about these peoples spread north and east above Papua New Guinea. The one that David is seeking to answer is ‘what can be done to save our islands, when no-one seems to care?’
So the light at the end of the tunnel may still be faint, but for David Trubridge and his team it has been switched on. Their latest lamp design to respond to the call for help is named Ripple Light, as David says that it comes from a form of ocean lateen sail found near Vanuatu. The ripples in these triangular lamps are formed from thin bamboo plywood and the lamp behaves like the sea in a soft breeze.
Seek out David Trubridge, not just for the Ripple Light and his friends in the Pacific, but also for his range of sustainable lights and totally different elegant solutions.