David Trubridge’s ICARUS has been purchased for the permanent collection of the Pompidou Centre in Paris. In February 2012 the Pompidou Centre purchased three large works for its permanent design collection by New Zealand designer David Trubridge.

This acquisition is a rare honor for a contemporary designer, and it is the first time the internationally renowned museum has acquired items created by a modern designer that focus on ‘sustainable development.’ Trubridge is viewed in France as being one of world’s leading ‘eco-conscious designers’. The pieces acquired by the Pompidou Centre will be part of its extraordinary collection of Modern design classics, and important prototypes.

The current plan is to show the work early next year in the Centre’s next show. The Pompidou Centre is one of the three most prestigious institutions of its kind in the western world, the other two being the Victoria and Albert museum in London (where Trubridge already has a jewelery box) and MOMA in New York.

The three pieces are the parts of an installation called Icarus which was first shown at the Milan Salone del Mobile in April 2010 at Superstudio Piu. The installation is based on the Greek legend of Icarus, and is made up of two luminous polycarbonate Wing lights circling around Sola, a patterned wooden sphere, coloured orange inside, to represent the Sun. It incorporates a vital moral for our times, reminding us not to get carried away with our technology and hubris because if we do the Sun might get too hot. Trubridge’s fascination with timeless stories reflects his belief that design can do more than ‘prettify’ or provide technical solutions – it can also play a social or cultural role. He likes to repeat a quote he heard: “if we had more stories we would have less guns.”ICARUS

Icarus follows a pattern that Trubridge has established at Milan of showing captivating sculptural installations conceived around a story, which are made up from lighting units that can go on to be marketed as individual products. The extra dimension of the story has captivated the press and public, over and above the creative forms of the lights. To reduce environmental impact, all these large Milan installations were transported as airline luggage and assembled on site, and that too becomes part of the story.Trubridge has been well known for constructing complex forms using sheet materials and computer modelling to unroll strips like an unpeeled apple. This technique has allowed Trubridge to keep his production in New Zealand by transporting flat-pack (professionally built in market) and kitset (assembled by the purchaser) lights in boxes which are 1/40th and less of their final size. This reduces the environmental impact and dollar cost of transporting his work, both of which are vital for exporters, particularly in New Zealand. Additionally the consumer gets the enjoyment and fulfilment of making the light themselves. From Trubridge’s promotional material for the kitset lights: “Seed System designs are only made possible through your involvement as you grow your kitset into a lightshade. Together we have helped to minimise the effect of shipping to reduce the number of trucks on the road, and decrease the design’s environmental footprint.”