If one of the main complaints lodged against the compact fluorescent lightbulb is that it’s ugly, all that’s about to change with the Plumen 001. The energy efficient bulb has been hailed as one of the first major re-designs of the CFL, and today, it won Brit Insurance Product Design of the Year 2011.
Created by product designer Samuel Wilkinson and British electronics company Hulger, the Plumen is made out of two interwoven glass tubes. The curved design has a new silhouette from every angle. In addition to radiating warm white light, it uses 80% less energy and lasting eight times longer than incandescents.
According to the Financial Times, the Plumen is the most recent Brit Insurance Product winner in a pattern of awards recognizing products for their innovative interpretation of everyday objects. Jury chair Stephen Bayley explained, “The Plumen light bulb is a good example of the ordinary thing done extraordinarily well, bringing a small measure of delight to an everyday product.” Will Self, a jury member, also remarked, “2011 was not a year to reward high-end design devised purely for conceptual reasons or added-value results.”
The light bulb aims to address both the quality of light and design lacking in traditional CLFs. In an interview with Fast Company, Hulger founder Nicolas Roope explained that the light bulb was born out of the desire to bring sexy back to a universal product badly in need of a re-design.
“‘Designers always look in the same places,’ says Roope. ‘They overlook the small things time and time again.’ They decided to look the one place no one was looking. ‘The lightbulb is completely barren, so ’90s,’ says Roope. ‘It’s an incredible source of ubiquity. If you can change the form even slightly you can change the whole game.'”
Though the Plumen is only available in Europe right now, the award comes at a time when light bulbs is a political hot potato in the US. A 2007 bill will require 100-watt bulbs to become 25 percent more efficient by next year. The Tea Party has adopted the light bulb as a cause celebre against government regulation (notably referenced in Rep. Michelle Bachman’s (R-MN) response to Obama’s State of the Union address earlier this year).
The Plumen is slated to go on sale in the US at the end of April 2011, and currently retails for £19.95 in the UK and €29.95 in the rest of Europe.