New Zealand-based artist and designer David Trubridge launched his lighting career with the Cloud fixture in 2008 and with Ebb several years later, but now he will reintroduce both products on July 1, 2020.
Originally made from plastic, Cloud and Ebb will be reimagined for a new decade and an increasingly environmentally conscious global design community.
“Cloud and Ebb eschew plastic components for 95 percent natural materials and feature new shapes, new colors and new sizes,” says wakaNINE, the Austin, Texas-based North American distributor of international, contemporary and sustainably produced lighting brands, including David Trubridge. “The result is two distinct product families that push the boundaries of lighting design in terms of biophilia, sustainability and organic design.”
Trubridge conceived of Cloud on a family trip out at sea. He noticed a fascinating environmental occurrence—clouds of water vapor appearing directly over islands. Years later, these memories led to the development of the cloud-shaped lights originally made from thin frosted plastic skins set over handmade island shaped seats. Dubbed “Cloud,” those early designs proved immensely popular and became a key offering in the company's new array of lighting. The company says that Cloud remained popular for years after its initial introduction, but there was one problem—the use of a thin plastic skin. While plastic was once an ideal material providing a much sought after glow and translucence, Trubridge felt he could no longer sell the products in good conscious.
“For a product conceived from the ocean, the idea of using plastics in products was in direct violation of my ethical standards and focus on sustainable materials and design practices,” Trubridge says. “Unfortunately, a bioplastic or resin replacement was not a good alternative due to cost and material properties. We pulled the product from the market and searched for ways to make it more environmentally friendly.”
In late 2019, lead studio designer Marion Courtille came up with the idea to recreate the iconic cloud forms with a thin bamboo plywood. While the process seemed impossible at first, she eventually had a breakthrough. “As a result, the new Clouds are voluminous yet airy, enclosed yet see-through,” the company says. “Slits created by the construction process act as repetitive apertures allowing light to escape and the form to breathe. They also expose beautiful color finishes, a design aesthetic that was previously impossible due to the product’s enclosed plastic skin.”
Cloud is available in two shapes in the collection, Large and Small, and each is made from bamboo plywood. Both sizes are available in the full David Trubridge color range, including Red, Pink, Aqua, Lime, White, Black, Orange, Blue, Natural and Caramel.
The Ebb Family also has updated. It features organic shapes inspired by nature. Though the original products used less plastic than Cloud, they were still constructed with alternating panels of wood and plastic. Trubridge eventually made the decision to discontinue Ebb until a sustainable solution could be found.
“The primary breakthrough with Ebb comes from the use of a new soft, supple Birch plywood sourced from famous Finnish firm Koskisen,” Trubridge explains. “Similar to Cloud, the design language is organic in shape and form and utilizes the same slit-like apertures to create a thin outer skin.”
A neutral modern aesthetic defines the product family, the company explains, with notes of Danish lighting design and Scandinavian minimalism found throughout the range. Unlike Cloud, Ebb comes in a variety of forms including Swell, Bounce, Roll and Drop. In order to provide a translucent aesthetic at night, Ebb is only available in a natural veneer finish. It comes in multiple sizes.