Designer David Trubridge on what inspires him.

The greatest design tragedy of the century is

that flag. We Kiwis like to "make do", we don't need experts. The appalling outcome is entirely due to political meddling. The greatest triumph? The various methods of getting our energy from a sustainable source.

Nothing stopped me in my tracks when I was recently in Frankfurt at the Light + Building festival. But that is not a bad thing.

We have become too addicted to the new and that creates unreal expectations, causing aspiring designers to resort to novelty and gimmickry in place of integrity. As a designer, it's most important to have, above all else, integrity and truth to self.


I couldn't single out any one culture, above others, that embodies the greatest elements and imagination in terms of design.

As times change so do aesthetics, so different cultures have come to prominence at different times. But that does not make them better, only the voice of the age. For a time the height of design finesse was Italian, but today it has become moribund and dry.

I don't think I can ever say that I have truly created something by accident. But neither does the incipient, generative part of the creative process happen "by design", as in a rational, linear process. I've always said that creativity cannot be willed. Our world today is very linear, very dominated by left-brain hemisphere thinking, which is powerful rationally but limited creatively. Creativity happens in the right hemisphere and quite differently - you have to create the right conditions and wait to see what comes out. The more you try to force it, the less likely you are to get anywhere. I compare it to Robbie Burns' "timorous beastie", who has to be slyly coaxed out of his hole by pretending you are not looking. Essential to this process is calm and lack of distraction, achieved by shutting down the superficial and incessant chattering of the left brain. it is fascinating to read how many other artists have expressed exactly the same thing - for instance, Bob Dylan said precisely this about his poetry.

If I didn't have to live in a house I'd live on a yacht as a nomad on the oceans. Nomads own very little out of necessity, so they have nothing to defend or to fight for. And what they do have is very precious and carefully chosen. They are not confined by political dogma or nationalism. Nomadic thinking is free to wander across disciplines, governed by its own navigational systems. Nomads learn to acquire their spiritual sustenance from the natural world around them - in this context accumulated stuff is meaningless. For me, in our current world of gross excess, this is very appealing.

If I were a colour, on a colour chart, I would be purple. And my name would be Hendrix.

New Zealand could do with more equality. From being proudly egalitarian we have become one of the most financially unequal societies, driven instead from the top by smug self-righteousness.

The material I most love to work with has always been wood, which is also the most challenging because every piece is different and inherently unstable.

The overriding philosophy I abide by in life and in design is "dare, never grudge the throe!" (Robert Browning in Rabbi Ben Ezra). I would rather live on the edge, taking risks and sometimes failing, than to not even try.

David Trubridge is a designer and furniture-maker based in Hawkes Bay.