The fallout from Brexit isn’t all bad – for consumers, anyway. The weak pound has prompted world-renowned furniture designer David Trubridge to buy an electric BMW i3 at a sharp price. He took the opportunity to chat with Jenny Keown about how retailers can invest in sustainability.
Trubridge, who is based in Hawke’s Bay, paid NZ$44,000 for the ex-showroom car, which he estimates to be about half the price of the same new models sold in New Zealand.
“On Monday, I got this email from [car distributor] Kaighin saying ‘pound drops, buy now’, and I asked them what they could get, and they said ex-demonstration models from showrooms,” he says.
Kaighin is sorting all the shipping and delivery of the car for Trubridge, who expects it to arrive in two months.
The investment that Trubridge has made in the car is a reflection of his strong environmental ethos and vision, which has also shaped his business.
“I got to the point where I couldn’t from a moral standpoint, afford it and not buy it,” he said.
Trubridge’s car can plug in to the normal mains power at home and work, and takes eight hours to charge. Charging stations, which are more high-powered, are being slowly built around the country.
New Zealand has a real opportunity to take a lead in the electrification of vehicles because we have providers who offer 100 percent renewable energy – as opposed to parts of Europe and the US, where electricity comes from dirty generation, says Trubridge.
The Norwegian government has encouraged car drivers to switch to electric cars through a mix of tax breaks and other measures. There are reports that it will ban the sale of fossil fuel based cars by 2025.
Unfortunately New Zealand has squandered our clean, green brand through a lack of vision and leadership, he says.
Trubridge is looking to replace the company van with an electric model, and hopes to put in an electric charging point at his showroom, so people can recharge their car and shop.
Sustainability is a prime focus of Trubridge’s business and has been from the very beginning when he started making furniture in 1995.
Today, the business supplies to outlets around New Zealand, and 500 stores in 50 different countries.
His work came to prominence in 2001 when the Italian design house Cappellini bought the rights for Body Raft. The Coral light followed in 2004, establishing a blueprint for kit-set products that minimised environmental footprint.
The company’s primary material is bamboo and is sourced from renewable forests in China grown as a food source, and the timber comes from sustainably farmed forests in New Zealand, South America and the US.
All of the products are designed with a focus on longevity, rather than mimicking trends. Shipping and freight is reduced by the introduction of the Seed System where products come flat packed and ready for the customer to assemble.