Compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) or, in the vernacular, energy-saving light bulbs, last 8 times longer than the traditional light bulb and use about 80 per cent less energy. This is all well and good, but if we're being honest, most CFLs are not lookers, and perhaps more importantly, they don't produce much light -- even after you've waited a few minutes for them to warm up.
Hulger -- the company behind the whimsical retro handset you can attach to your mobile phone -- has addressed this issue and created the world's first designer energy-saving light bulb.
Humans Invent spoke to Hulger founder, Nicholas Roope, about the concept. He says, "We are trying to get people to adopt more efficient lights through seduction rather than force."
Many energy saving light bulbs fare poorly on the colour rendering index (CRI), which measures how faithfully artificial light reproduces the colours of its surroundings. So while you may be helping the environment you have to live with subpar lighting.
Roope says, "It's left a sort of bitter taste in people's mouths and subsequently, when we've been encouraged or increasingly so, forced, to adopt these things, it doesn't feel great. Whilst you can force change with legislation, for example, it makes a lot of sense to create more seductive packages. Take, for example, Tesla Motors in the states. They have taken the electric car ideal and packaged it in a much sexier way and you can see how that helps people change their attitude towards more responsible, sustainable propositions."
When it comes to the Plumen light bulb not only does it look aesthetically appealing with its twisting, dynamic form, it also works better than standard CFLs, with a much faster ignition speed and brighter lighting similar to that created by traditional bulbs.
Of course, it comes at a price: £19.95 to be precise (the baby Plumen is £18.95). Roope says, "There are some material costs, so for example, we drive two tubes rather than one... there are a bunch of incremental costs and because the scale of our production is much lower than the general run, there is a massive amplification of cost that side of things as well."
Once you've purchased the Plumen light bulb the next consideration is the lampshade. Do you really want to hide such a beautiful looking bulb behind a shade?
Roope says, "With lighting, context plays a big part in how you choose to present it. In its naked form, it's quite bright. For a lot of situations that's great, for example, cafes, working spaces etc. In more ambient situations such as a bar where it is a bit more mellow you want some ambience and it works really well with a shade. Scale is an issue -- it is not going to work with every shade and obviously a lot of shades completely hide the bulb so you are not going to spend £20 on a bulb and then hide it."
Hulger has sold the Plumen light bulbs on Fab, one of the world's fastest growing e-commerce sites, that focuses on everyday design.
Roope says, "We've been wrapped up with the Fab story from the very beginning which we are really happy about because everything it stands for and what it means for design more generally beyond our own story."
For more information go to Plumen.
Humans Invent is an online space dedicated to celebrating innovation, craftsmanship and design fueled by our most natural instinct – the pursuit of invention to help solve a human need. You can read their original article here.