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Popular Kiwi designer puts 15 years of travelling into one book

David Trubridge

Popular New Zealand designer David Trubridge has released a new book capturing 15 years of travelling. We sit down with him to discover the inner workings behind his second book after seven years.

Known for creating the night light installations for Rotorua’s Redwoods Treewalk and other work including pieces for a Canadian mall, Trubridge is moving away from design and presenting the public with a book following his thoughts and travel journeys over his lifetime.

Following his first book “So Far”, “The Other Way” is described as a “love letter to the land and sea”.

“It is my journals and thoughts, not just a story of travel but my thoughts during moving around, half of it is writing and pictures,” says Trubridge.

“This is largely about my relationship to the land, the nature and life.”

The book follows Trubridge’s travels over 15 years away from “myopic cities” and his time in secluded, nature-filled places from Japan, New Zealand, Italy and even the untouched Antarctica.

He says he wanted to move away from creating a “superficial” travel book and instead wanted to share some of the best and “exciting” parts of the world that he has seen during his travel.

Read more: A Day in The Life: David Trubridge.

Trubridge adds that the book doesn’t cover all the places he travelled to over the years, rather those carefully handpicked based on stories he had to share.

“I selected places that had a story, that I had a bit more to write about,” he adds.

He says he wanted the book to be built on a story and pattern that reflected his relationship with the land. He admits that he didn’t have much to write about during his three-week time in the Himalayas and ultimately left it out of the book.

“The book itself is a designed object and what is contained are thoughts about nature, the philosophy and the ethics surrounding art in nature.”

When Covid-19 came around, Trubridge saw it as the perfect time to sit down and put the book together after the pandemic immediately stopped any means to explore the world.

When asked about his favourite place featured in the book, Trubridge recalls his trip to Antarctica saying it was “outrageous”.

“It was very powerful and informative,” he adds.

David Trubridge
David Trubridge.

Trubridge originally went to Antarctica’s McMurdo Base in 2004, describing it as being “like nowhere else on earth”. He says from Ross Island “you just see forever”.

He says his travels have “definitely inspired” his thinking and his work as a designer.

“The great thing with travel is the freedom of having thoughts. I will come back from a trip with my thinking shaken up and that can then be applied to my work,” he says.

“Routine has a numbing effect on creativity, and you can get stuck in habitual ways. Travelling can change that up.”

He says the “inner workings of the creative mind” are opened after being shaken up from the routine of life when travelling.

But after 15 years, Trubridge is finally seeing an end to his journeys across the world.

“I’m not likely to travel anymore, I am happy now to sit under a tree at a beach,” he admits.

“I have done this, and it’s been amazing, and I learnt so much from this.”

Trubridge says he no longer needs to visit these places anymore and is happy to have a record in the form of the book that holds a “bank of knowledge” of all the places he visited.

The Other Way by David Trubridge will be launched at the Auckland Writers Festival on August 23 to 28. Copies are now available from davidtrubridge.com/nz and selected retailers, RRP $99.

Bernadette is a content writer across SCG Business titles, The Register and Idealog. To get in touch with her, email bernadette.basagre@scg.net.nz

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