The Plumen Project: The Designer Energy Saving Light Bulb

The plumen project is an attempt at re-designing the humble compact fluorescent in order to make it more attractive to consumers. Compact fluorescent bulbs, also known as CFL’s are becoming more and more prevalent in our stores, and light sockets but are still mostly constructed in one universally recognized form, a spiralling glass tube. This form was seemingly originally conceived in order to maximize tube length and thus light production.

It’s well known that CFL’s use a small fraction of the power as incandescents to produce the same light output, yet in many cases legislation has been the only way to get these devices into our homes. Why? I believe the lack of rapid adoption of CFL’s is an issue of design. CFL’s are commonly larger then there older counterparts, and yet do not significantly brake the mold in terms of form. They are also inconstant in terms of their light quality and color. Both of these design failings coupled with the lower upfront cost of incandescents have kept consumers buying the outdated, and less sustainable product.

The Plumen project seeks to flip our perceptions of the CFL from overly-environmentally conscience and annoyingly colored to intriguingly twisted and warmly glowing. From what I have seen of it, I think it might have succeeded. Whats important about this product is not that this bulb is the best a bulb can be, but that a designer has made an effort to take a superior technology and make it appealing to the public. There are likely to be many products or ideas convinced of by very intelligent, yet design unaware individuals. In order for more sustainable products to be adopted, we as designers must see past their utility and create an object of desire and beauty. We have an important and key roll to play in re-shaping our surroundings in a more sustainable fashion.

– Josh


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