18th February 2013 | IN DESIGN ADVICE | BY SBID

The energy saving bulb has been with us for a number of years, but even though many of us elected to purchase them when our old bulbs blew, the phasing out of the incandescent bulb has meant that it is one of the cheapest and most readily available replacement choices for consumers.

Not that this is at all a bad thing – changing just one fitting to use an energy saving bulb could save around £3 a year in electricity. Multiply this across the fittings throughout the home and the savings soon begin to add up.

New lighting technologies are being developed and released very regularly, with highly efficient LED technology being packaged into a bigger and bigger range of fittings available to the industry and directly to the public. Price does still pay a big factor in the design and bulb chosen, but the increase in purchasing inevitably creates lower prices over time.

But the one bugbear of many a designer and client has been the overall design of the energy saving bulb – namely the ‘standard’ range available at the lowest prices.

The ‘column’ type bulbs can look rather stark and the ‘ice cream’ style bulbs also have a particular look which any not contribute to your scheme. This is, of course, a very personal decision between the designer and the client and we have used both of these low cost fittings to great effect – making no apologies for their shapes.

There is however, another choice for the energy saving bulb which addresses this design issue – the Plumen 001 bulb by Samuel Wilkinson for Hulger.

Working on the logic that the glass tubes that make up all of the standard energy saving bulbs can actually be bent in a whole variety of shapes, the Plumen 001 (and newly launched, smaller sized ‘Baby Plumen’) has rethought what an energy saving bulb can be.

Using ‘plumes’ of feathers as inspiration, the bulbs two twisting tubes create a sculptural form which changes shape as you move around the fitting.

The simplicity of the design actually creates a very complex and aesthetically pleasing form, which has been designed to sit, completely unclothed in a space, making it perfect for a statement ‘bare bulbs’ scheme.

It can however, be used to great effect when paired carefully with pendants – especially simple pieces which really let the bulb’s shapes shine, or enclosed glass fittings which ‘frame’ the bulbs like little pieces of art.

And this is exactly what Plumen’s new shade sets to achieve. The ‘Pharaoh’ shade has been designed for Danish firm Lightyears, specifically for the Plumen 001 and was launched at the recent Stockholm furniture fair. The simply shaped shade is mirror finished and appears a solid piece when the bulb is off, but as soon as the piece is illuminated the shade becomes transparent – enhancing the silhouetted shape of the bulb as the focus of the piece.

Alternatively, if you want to go super simple, the Plumen 001 can be paired with one of their newly developed pendant / drop sets, which are available in a series of colours and have been designed to completely contain the black section of the bulb, meaning that the form of the bulb sits directly beneath the fitting.

The beautiful thing about the Plumen 001 is just that – its beauty of sculptural form which brings energy saving bubs out of the ‘required’ box and into our ‘desired’ box when designing and specifying.

Visit www.plumen.com for details on their bulbs and pendant sets.

Written by eco interior architect & designer guest blogger Claire Potter