David Trubridge 32 Tipua

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Director
    David Trubridge
  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Director
    Marion Courtillé Heays
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Members
    Andrew Robertson, Mat Stott
  • Kaitautoko / Contributor
    Ross MacKay
  • Client
    Artful Curation

Our clients were opening up an area of native bush on their Northland property. They asked us to create an "element of magic” that responded to the environment and which also enhanced their experience of it. In particular, they wanted a setting in which to immerse themselves in the evening chorus of the birds. Tipua is visible from a new guest house being built nearby and from here has to offer a tantalising glimpse of something more out there in the bush.

Tipua is a piece of micro-architecture that interweaves nature and design.
Rooted in the enchanting intricacies of patterns inspired by cicada wings, the polished dome-shaped structure emanates a captivating reflection of its surroundings, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in a harmonious fusion of form and function.

Tipua is built from 84 individual parts of 6mm thick 316 stainless-steel, laser-cut, hand-polished and welded together on specific angles. After cutting, the steel was electropolished to get a mirror finish, but because of the varying areas of steel this process was inconsistent and patchy. So the whole thing had to be laboriously hand-polished.
We had to design a massive jig on which to assemble each of the three sections of the dome, one at a time.
The three sections were welded and finished in Hawke’s Bay then freighted to the site. That was done by Ross MacKay, who contributed wealth of knowledge to the project.
A local contractor had built a matching timber platform to our design and the three sections were carried into the bush and bolted together onto the platform.

The essence of the dome lies in its ability to mirror and respond to the environment: each facet captures light and projects it in a kaleidoscope of hues, ever-changing as daylight dances upon its surface. The interplay between natural elements and the architectural realm becomes a captivating symphony, blurring the boundaries between man-made and organic beauty.
The burnished surfaces can either stand out starkly when they reflect the sky or become almost hidden when, chameleon-like, they reflect the nearby bush.

The complex network of structural elements forms a delicate lattice, creating a sense of weightlessness and ethereality. The dome becomes a conduit, seamlessly connecting the external environment with the inner sanctum it encapsulates.

Within the confines of Tipua’s overreaching arms, a contemplative space is born. It invites viewers to embark on a journey of introspection. One step inside and the dome becomes a sanctuary, sheltering you from the chaos of the outside world and offering a moment of tranquility and reflection.

Through this project, our aim is to awaken a sense of wonder and reverence for the delicate balance that exists between nature and the human imagination. By seeking inspiration from the intricate patterns of cicada wings, we wish to celebrate the timeless beauty found in the natural world and invite viewers to reflect upon their own place within it.
We hope to remind them of our innate connection to the larger tapestry of life.