A Beautiful New Energy-Saving Light Bulb

Slate’s design blog.
Jan. 10 2014 1:00 PM

A Beautiful New Energy-Saving Light Bulb

140111_EYE_Plumen4
Plumen 002 uses 75 percent less energy than a 30W incandescent bulb.

Courtesy of Plumen

As we have noted previously, the bare bulb has become a permanent fixture of the 21st-century interior, a design object in and of itself that no longer needs to be covered but can shine on its own, naked and unadorned.

Many of the bare bulbs hanging in style-conscious lofts and hotel lobbies are of the energy-guzzling Edison variety. But British company Plumen provided an ecofriendly, design-forward alternative with the release of Plumen 001 in 2010. It was the kind of game-changing object that produced a light bulb moment when you first saw it, with its fanciful twisting glass tubes that looked more like a sculpture than a bulb. It is now sold in 47 countries and belongs to the collections of MoMA, the Cooper-Hewitt, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

140111_EYE_Plumen001
The original Plumen 001.

Courtesy of Plumen

But if the Plumen light bulb was exciting to look at, its bright light, which was designed as an alternative for the 60W incandescent light bulb, wasn’t as easy to live with. Yesterday, the company introduced Plumen 002, a new iteration of the bulb designed to create cozy ambient light for “wind-down rooms and spaces.”* The Plumen 002 uses 75 percent less energy than a 30W incandescent bulb.

Advertisement

In a press release about the launch, Plumen pointed out that while the 001 bulbs are sold worldwide, “the company is a minnow in an industry selling billions of light bulbs a year.” In an effort to keep their prices competitive (around $35 according to current projections), Plumen launched a Kickstarter campaign yesterday to draw on support from its worldwide fans; twenty-four hours later they are already halfway to their goal.

“The world needs beautiful energy efficient light bulbs just like it needs Tesla’s gorgeous electric cars,” reads the Kickstarter pitch. “Reducing our energy consumption should feel like a positive, life-enhancing choice, not a compromise.”

140111_EYE_
Plumen 002 was inspired by the sculptures of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.

Courtesy of Plumen

Like Plumen 001, the new bulb is designed to be shown off. But its form, inspired by the sculptures of artists Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth and designed by neon sculptor Tony Greer, is more sensual than the first, a poetic loop of light with a tamer geometry and more familiar rounded form.*

“Plumen believes that the most powerful way to switch the world to energy-efficient lighting is to create light bulbs that people love,” reads the press release. I guess that only time will tell if the design world will fall as hard for Plumen 002 as it did its older sibling.

140111_EYE_Plumen3
Plumen 002 by night

Courtesy of Plumen

*Correction, Jan. 15, 2014: This post originally and mistakenly described the Plumen 002 bulb as being dimmable; it is not.

*Correction, Jan. 24, 2014: A previous version of this post misspelled the name of Tony Greer.

TODAY IN SLATE

History

The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

The First Case of Ebola in America Has Been Diagnosed in Dallas

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

The Supreme Court, Throughout Its History, Has Been a Massive Disappointment

Why Indians in America Are Mad for India’s New Prime Minister

Damned Spot

Now Stare. Don’t Stop.

The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

The GOP Senate Candidate in Iowa Doesn’t Want Voters to Know Just How Conservative She Really Is

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 5:19 PM Social Outcasts Republican candidates are retreating from debates on abortion, gay marriage, and contraception.
  Business
Building a Better Workplace
Sept. 30 2014 1:16 PM You Deserve a Pre-cation The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.
  Life
Education
Sept. 30 2014 1:48 PM Thrashed Florida State’s new president is underqualified and mistrusted. But here’s how he can turn it around.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 4:45 PM Steven Soderbergh Is Doing Some Next-Level Work on The Knick
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 5:47 PM California Gov. Vetoes Bill Requiring Warrant for Police Surveillance Drones
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath the Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.