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.

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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