New Cloud and Ebb lights

A sustainable re-issue

  • Released
  • 1st July 2020

Visionary designer David Trubridge marks a return to form with the reintroduction of his iconic Cloud and Ebb lighting fixtures, available on July 1, 2020. The New Zealand based artist launched his lighting career with immediate global success with Cloud in 2008 and with Ebb following several years later. Both Cloud and Ebb are now lovingly re-imagined for a new decade and an increasingly environmentally conscious global design community. Cloud and Ebb eschew plastic components for 95% natural materials and feature new shapes, new colors and new sizes. The result is two distinct product families that push the boundaries of lighting design in terms of biophilia, sustainability and organic design.

The idea

The rebirth of Cloud is almost as interesting as the product’s origin story. While out to sea with his family many years ago, Trubridge 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 Years later, these memories led to the development of the cloud-shaped lights originally made from thin frosted plastic skins set over handmade island shaped seats.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.

While Cloud remained popular for years after its initial introduction, there was one problem with the product – 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,” said Trubridge. “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

The Breakthrough

Marion Courtillé 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. 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.

There are 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. In addition to Cloud, the Ebb family of products features organic shapes inspired by nature. While the original products used less plastic than Cloud, they were still constructed with alternating panels of wood and plastic.

While this design provided a beautiful and unique lighting aesthetic, Trubridge made the difficult 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,” said Trubridge. “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, 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. It is also unique due to its Koskisen Birch Plywood construction. In order to provide a translucent aesthetic at night, Ebb is only available in a natural veneer finish. However, multiple sizes are still available for discerning customers looking for design variety.

A Dedication to Environmental Stewardship

David Trubridge is respected globally for his early awareness of sustainable design, manufacturing and shipping practices. While this green business model was present from the start, his practices have become stricter over time with an increased focus on material sourcing and selection. That’s why Trubridge moved away from plastics with his new line of Cloud and Ebb products. Like his other lighting fixtures, Cloud and Ebb use only the minimal amount of materials and are generated with longevity in mind. They are also fit into the company’s SEED System ethos, which means they are flatpacked and shipped directly to customers. This saves weight and space, two critical components of reducing a product’s carbon footprint during shipping and fulfillment. This change is especially impressive for Cloud as the original design was handmade and included more than 2,000 individual rivets. The long assembly time was expensive, and the finished product had to be shipped fully assembled from New Zealand. The fact that it is now shipped kitset and features lightweight, compact components is revolutionary. Environmental responsibility also extends to the day-to-day operations within the Trubridge headquarters. This includes recycling factory and studio waste where possible, purchasing electricity from renewable sources, and taking full responsibility for the entire process from design conception to shipping and freighting of the final product.

Products used

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