Gallery: PLUMEN: Rethinking the Fluorescent Bulb

 

We all know how energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs are, and we’ve all been hearing for the past couple years how we should replace every light bulb in our house with a CFL. But have you ever stopped and wondered why compact fluorescents are just so plain ugly and unimaginative in their design? It seems strange that the design of the lightbulb, an object so synonymous with ideas, is almost entirely absent of imagination. Instead of blindly following eco-edicts and stocking up on dull CFL bulbs, London boutique electronics company Hulger is trying to re-invent the fluorescent lightbulb and create art out of utilitarianism with their evocative “plumen” designs.

It’s amazing that Hulger is really the first group of designers we’ve heard of who bothered to stop and ask the question:

How can we make the design of the compact fluorescent more interesting and attractive?

And this is an extremely important question, if you think about it, because it is going to be hard to convince homeowners around the world to do the right thing and replace their tungsten bulbs with environmentally friendly CFL light bulbs, if those lightbulbs are unattractive and poorly designed. So we applaud Hulger for asking the tough questions and trying to come up with something better.

In their recently launched Plumen project, Hulger asks, “Why not use the tubular formation of fluorescent lights to an advantage?” Instead of trying to cover up the tube with a tungsten-esque bulb, why not utilize the tube to draw, sculpt, or scrawl in the air with light? By doing this, we can turn these afterthoughts into design centerpieces and encourage people to buy CFLs through genuine desire rather than a nagging sense of guilt. This is what good green design should really be about.

The Plumen lightbulb designs shown here are just prototypes, and Hulger has put out an open call to bulb manufacturers to take their designs into production. Any company that took a chance and decided to move in this innovative direction could do really well by providing something that is actually interesting and desirable for consumers. Do we hear any offers? + Plumen

+ Hulger

LEAVE A COMMENT

or your inhabitat account below

Let's make sure you're a real person:


12 Comments

  1. Hiren Modi vistastores July 18, 2012 at 1:42 am

    It’s amazing! I don’t know more about technology. But, I would like to publish this bulb on my blog.

  2. kelspop May 22, 2012 at 5:12 am

    CLF’s having ugly designs every one is waiting for some good design. On big disadvantage of clf is as time goes bulb get fed time by time. :( that’s why many people think that clf is not good option as compare to LED Lights. Led’s are good and giving more light compare to clf’s.

  3. Hulger's Stunning Sculp... September 9, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    [...] to hide your love for low-energy lighting. Though we’ve been talking about the fantastic Plumen lightbulb for years, we’re thrilled to announce that Hulger and designer Sam Wilkinson have finally brought their [...]

  4. Inhabitat » HULGE... October 1, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    [...] an aesthetic want as opposed to a nagging guilt. We first covered Hulger’s Plumen Bulb launch last year, and we are pleased to see the variations that the product has developed since [...]

  5. happy December 6, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    of course you need an suv to drive a six pack of these home from the store. I remember thinking the “ice cream whip” was interesting the first time I saw it. Imagine if every bulb looked like this idiotic monstrosity. At least the whip shape has practical utility, not to mention its “compactness” provides some durability from the store to the recycling center.

    My favorite part is the excessive use of materials.

  6. judy December 6, 2007 at 1:02 pm

    am i the only one who thinks the ‘ice cream whip’ design ain’t that bad? maybe i just like what it represents. i dunno.

  7. ladeda December 1, 2007 at 11:09 pm

    What’s this about how compact flourescents can’t be recycled? Standard compact flourescent lights totally can be recycled! Here in Seattle, we have a variety of options. See http://www.metrokc.gov/dnrp/swd/takeitback/fluorescent/index.asp.

    Though these designs are cool, I seriously doubt that if I brought any of these Hulger-inspired CFLs for recycling that they’d be even able to recycle them! They might even be rejected for recycling and have to just go in the trash.

  8. Erik van Lennep December 1, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    They are cool looking. The only problem is that fluorescents (compact or otherwise) are so jammed with toxics that they cannot be recycled. Ironic that in leaping to the energy saving bulb, we may seriously compound the toxic load on the environment. Bring on the LED generation!!

  9. Nico November 30, 2007 at 11:16 pm

    A gorgeous option. I just hope they are LED-based since traditonal CFLs contain mercury.

  10. Sheldon November 30, 2007 at 6:19 pm

    As an engineer, I like this; as a consumer, I like this.
    The reason why bulbs were the shape they were was due to the limitations of the filament: delicate wires, glass bubble, inert gas. The reason for things like lamp shades was an artefact of those limitations: it needed a lamp shade because the bit that makes the light is so small (i.e. diffuse it) and they aren’t pretty to look at.

    Because of how a CFL works, the light is produced in a diffused manner (there is no thin wire as the entire tube is “light”) and the above is the first step to them actually looking nice enough to exist on their own. And there is no reason to suggest why these lights would not be impractical; the structural strength of the Plumen bulb should be just as sufficient as the “ice-cream whip” or “radiator”.

    So cast off your lamp shade and see the light, don’t be left in the dark by restrictions due to legacy illumination. Oh and sorry for the lamp-related words (it’s just some “light” humour ;-)

  11. Hmmmmm November 30, 2007 at 9:58 am

    Ugly =functional=engineer design
    Cool=impractical=designer

    Never the two shall meet….

  12. Kat November 30, 2007 at 4:41 am

    one issue, though. most bulbs are never seen when in use, and it’s often most pleasant when they’re not. not that a light sculpture isn’t interesting, but a functional bulb that gives off enough light to actually be useful is probably a little too bright to be used naked and shadeless. if it were simply decorative, it wouldn’t be very green. not to mention that many light fixtures are designed specifically to suit classically shaped bulbs. but i suppose seeing an intersting shape glowing from behind a semi-transluscent drum shade would be eye-catching.

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
What are you looking for? (Solar, HVAC, etc.)
Where are you located?