Rotorua Nightlights is a stunning installation created by David Trubridge in collaboration with Redwoods Treewalk. The installation gives visitors the opportunity to explore the Redwood Forest at night, with 30 custom lanterns illuminating the trees and suspended walkways.
Inspired by native birds, the lanterns have been cleverly incorporated into the forest, with some suspended over 25 metres above ground, while others have been designed to encircle the trees. To create the lanterns, the design team needed a lightweight yet durable wood that would blend in with the forest and handle the outdoor conditions. Importantly, it needed to be easy to work with to bring the intricate lantern designs to life.
“We needed a material which was durable, relatively thin, lightweight and easy to machine,” explains Mat Stott, Operations Manager, David Trubridge. After discarding various options including macrocarpa and accoya — neither of which offered both the strength and aesthetic required — Stott turned to Douglas Gaunt, Specialist in Timber Engineering for advice. “When Douglas mentioned that there was a sheet board product made from Accoya, with the same durability guarantees as Accoya, I got very excited,” says Stott.
Tricoya is a new wood based panel that demonstrates outstanding durability and dimensional stability in extreme and challenging environments, including exterior, interior, wet and high moisture applications. The board has a 50 year above ground, and 25 year in-ground warranty. It is easy to work with, and enabled the David Trubridge Team to create the lanterns in flat packs to be assembled on site. To minimise future maintenance of the lanterns, unfinished Tricoya was used.
“Using Tricoya for this project removed all of the pre-processing associated with using 'solid' timber,” explains Stott. “We were able to simply take sheets off a pallet and put them straight on the CNC router, cut the parts and pack them up ready for assembly. No sanding, no finishing and best of all, no rejects.”
The finished installation is a striking series of lights that has unsurprisingly become a popular destination for tourists and kiwi visitors alike. “The final result was even better than we had imagined,” says Stott. “I visited the Treewalk in December 2017, exactly a year after the lights were installed. There were no breakages, and apart from a dusting of green pollen, they looked as good as when they were installed, if not better!”
Forest Nightlights by David Trubridge
Product: Tricoya by Gunnersen
Installation: Thomas Rika (The Specialist) and his experienced team of installers