Incandescent lighting is so taken-for-granted in contemporary culture that most of us have no idea how much energy we use when we flip a light switch. Boiler Design Office wants to change this with their experimental Protea Lamp – a lamp which changes shape based on how hot the bulb gets.

The Protea lamp is thermotropic: meaning it moves away from heat. When the light is off, the petal-like lampshade is cold and closed around the bulb. When the lamp is turned on and heats up, the thermotropic petals gradually move away from the hot bulb – opening up like a flower in the sunshine.

Designer Karl Zahn views this project as an experiment in turning an invisible artifact of consumption into a visual reminder, without limiting its function:

We have become dependant upon artificial lighting. It is so commonplace that everyone understands how to operate one. But what is not so easily understood is how wasteful these habits are. We can only “see” half of what a normal incandescent bulb produces; the rest of its energy is released as seemingly useless heat.

The Protea lamp is named for the Proteaceae group of flowers which change their shape during the day based on sunlight.

We think this is a perfect combination of thoughtfulness, uniqueness and beauty in design and applaud Karl Zahn for coming up with such a great idea.

$150 from Boiler Design Office