The incandescent bulb is nearing the end of its life. Across the world governments having been passing legislation in favour of more energy conserving alternatives; and here in Europe a ban on selling 100watt bulb has been in place for a year.


We’ve mostly switched to the rather ugly compact tube fluorescent tube (CTF) and the ban on the frosted incandescent so infuriated lighting designer Ingo Maurer he had to come up with the Euro Condom pictured above (not sure if come up was quite the right phrase there!) The opaque condoms fit over clear incandescent bulbs – which are not affected by the guidelines – to give a similar effect to the banned bulbs. Its an amusing poke at European bureaucracy but when you look at the carbon emissions saved by getting rid of the old bulbs never mind the money saved on your electricity bills it makes sense to make the move.

So here are a few lights that have taken a little inspiration from the old bulb but been updated to comply with strict EU guidelines – its quite heartening to think bureaucracy can move design! America take note your Federal bureaucracy is years behind….


I don’t think you could have failed to notice Hulger’s Plumen lightbulb launched this year and billed as the worlds first designer energy saving light bulb. It uses 80% less energy than the traditional incandescent light bulb; and just like its ugly older brother (the compact tube fluorescent) it keeps down electricity bills and lasts around 8 times longer.  Hulger’s work came from the frustrations of the CTF; not only did it look ugly but the kind of light they give off is pretty poor.

“Make the bulb attractive and people will spend a bit more and enjoy a better quality of light and a design they appreciate every day. Glass tubes can be bent is many different shapes so why are there thousands of manufacturers but only three designs? We believe the answer is in the design.” The bulb is available in Europe with plans to launch in the USA early 2011.

Tremonto_lightMarcus Tremento is an artist who uses light as a  medium to express his work. His highly graphic and illustration based pieces draw inspiration from French Pop comics of the 1960’s his use of simple lines suggest three-dimensional form but in keeping with his source of inspiration he actually uses paper  – of a rather special kind. Tremento_lightThese lights employ Electroluminescent paper, which consists of an organic material that emit photons (light) when excited by an electric current, sandwiched between two thin layers of plastic. This method of producing light is distinct from standard incandescent lights in that there is no emission of heat. Electroluminescence was first developed in 1960 for use in automotive instrument panel backlighting.


Diamond Light by Eric Therner is a particularly beautiful alternative to the old light bulbs

“I’d like to see them as sculptures, with a function. Diamond Lights play with the concept of the light bulb. Stylewise, the common light bulbs look brilliant. I’m not sure though, if it is the shape, or it’s iconic value that makes it so beautiful.


The fact that it was “a” first, and what it meant to people when it first arrived, has surely played an important role during the years from product to icon. Diamond Lights is not a tribute or an attempt at making a better light bulb than the already existing one. I simply want to offer another choice.”

The result is an environmentally friendly, e-27 halogen lightbulb with a warm 15 watt glow and 2000- lifehours.


Pieke Bergmans Light Bulbs

Pictures at the top of this post the Light Bulbs are a series of crystal lamps, designed by Pieke  in a collaboration with Royal Crystal Leerdam. The lamps are all unique handcrafted crystal pieces, equipped with leds by Solid Lighting Design. They followed on from Pieke’s “Virus” series where she manipulates molten glass over various objects letting them gently ooze in a organic satisfying way.

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