CASE STUDY : Coral Light

CASE STUDY : Coral Light


CREATING SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTS  //

After studying Naval Architecture in the UK, David Trubridge worked as a forester for 10 years where he began to make furniture.

Relocating to Australia, David experimented with a repeated geometry. Using a single component 60 times he created a sculpture that ultimately became his first lighting design, when his wife suggested he add a lightbulb. CORAL is now sold in more than 50 countries globally.

Now a globally recognised designer, David's New Zealand-based studio holds sustainable practice at the heard heart of all products by retaining a minimal environmental footprint. CORAL light was first in a series of kit-set products.

David's products are held in prestigious museums including the permanent design collection of the Pompieu Centre in Paris. His work is exhibited at all major design fairs and David is invited to speak about the responsibility designers have to create a better future within their practice.

THE REAL THING

CORAL is sold as a flat-pack or kit product, for self-assembly. Transported in small, light-weight, purposed-designed packaging made from recycled cardboard. Bamboo plywood pieces are connected with nylon clips.

UNCERTIFIED ELECTRICAL PRODUCTS ARE ILLEGAL

All lightng products must be legally certified in every region to enable licensed electricians to install. Certification costs run at $5,000 USD per product per region. Investment in certifying all versions of a single light per territory cost designers $15,000 - $2,000 0USD per product. Lighting designers factor this investment into their product development.

Fake lights have no electrical compliancy. A major replica retailer recently closed their commercial division in Australia. No Electricians would instal their products.

"A customer purchased a fake Coral light & their electrician refused to instal it. The replica retailer told them to find another electrician!"

THE FAKES

The cheap copies are not made from sustainable materials and are fabricated in unregulated conditions without the same rigid quality control applied to the authentic designs. In short - cheap imitations are made under poor conditions.

Counterfeit CORAL lights were shipped from China to Australia – FULLY ASSEMBLED in cubic metre boxes filled with polystyrene packaging. Original CORAL lights are shipped in a recycled cardboard case that is the size of a book and weighs next to nothing.

OUTCOME

Given the original design was an experiment, and that David had no prior experience as a lighting designer – he saw no reason to ‘register ‘ his creation with IP Australia.

When the design became popular – numerous knock-off began selling at multiple retailers and online portals across Australia – causing a radical dip in sales – that amounted to 6-figure financial losses to his business.

Initial legal ‘cease and desist' letters were ignored, and legal proceedings were filed in the Australian Federal Court. It was deemed that the light is a ‘work of artistic craftsmanship' - a loop-hole that can protect works originally created as art. Unfortunately industrially produced products don’t qualify.

Ultimately seven (7) Australian retailers were ordered to destroy the copies of David’s lights.

At least 7 shipping containera od products were destroyed, and the retailers are now bound legally to not sell knock-offs of this design. Ironically, the same retailers still profit from sales of counterfeit versions of other original designs.

LISTEN TO DAVID ON ABC RADIO NATIONAL INTERVIEW (12 minutes)

davidtrubridge.com

 

 

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