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my favourite colours

From Habitat magazine - issue 25

Lighting designer David Trubridge has had global success with his stunning creations, many of which feature Resene paint.

David Trubridge

Tell us about your current ventures.

We are developing some new lights which will be launched later this year. One of them, Navicular, is based on a minute diatom from the oceans and was previewed earlier this year in Frankfurt and New York, where it was really well received. We are creating an outdoor lighting experience for the Redwoods Treewalk in Rotorua, and a Sleeping Giant shade sculpture for the Havelock North Domain. I am designing and making a new SUP (stand-up paddle/windsurf board), in very thin bamboo plywood. And I am writing a book called Beauty Matters based on a lecture I have been giving around the world.

What effect does colour have on your designs? How do you like to use colour?

I LOVE colour! Colour is happiness and joy! A colour is a light-wave, a vibration which sets off an emotional response. So I like to use colour in that way. Of course, it makes me feel very gloomy to see so many people timidly sticking to cold, drab shades of grey.

David Trubridge art

How would you describe your personal style?

I don't believe in style, which implies affectation or contrivance. If you ask about the qualities of my work that are important to me, I would say integrity, honesty and timelessness. For the same reason, I am not a fan of fashion, which I call a 'commercial construct', intended to get us to throw stuff out and buy more. I like to think that my designs will still be used in 50 years or more, like Eames' furniture today. That is more sustainable and responsible.

What is your favourite decorating colour or colours, and why?

I don't have a favourite colour because colours are like musical notes: separate them out individually and they lose much of their effect. When the notes are placed together in a melody or harmony they come alive and sing. So the greatest effect and power of colour is not intrinsic to an individual one, but achieved by placing them together to create resonance, to feel the energy generated between them.

Is there a colour you would never use in your own home, or in your designs?

Grey! Best left on battleships or in morgues.

What are your three favourite colours from Resene's latest The Range fashion colours collection, and why?

  • Resene She'll Be Right. I love blues but blue is the elusive colour of longing and distance; it always recedes as you move towards it. So closer up, I would go for an aqua colour like this that implies the limpid depths of water.
  • Resene Irresistible. I like red because it is powerful and jubilant, but pure red is too heavy and dense. This red is more delicate and less demanding, but it is still rich and seductive like a mature wine or the lips of an older woman.
  • Resene Hashtag. This colour just immediately came out at me and I couldn't ignore it. I guess it reminds me of the softest young moss in a silent forest, as inviting as the most luxuriant bed.

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