Unveiling his version of the incandescent light bulb for the first time in 1880, Thomas Edison prophesied that “we’ll make electric light so cheap that only the wealthy can afford to burn candles.” Well he had a point, right! We’ve come a long way from the first electric light bulb, but what does the future hold for light in our home?
Incandescent light bulbs are those ones that cartoonists use to show that pinging ‘Eureka!’ moment when an idea strikes. The bulbs have a piece of wire tungsten in the middle that lights up, but this also heats the bulb so that it’s hot to the touch. The phase-out of these traditional incandescent light bulbs began in 2005, as countries around the world began to focus on energy efficiency.
At the time of the phase out there weren’t quite so many options on the market for great alternatives. Supermarket aisles were stocked high with those weird corkscrew-looking compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) in different sizes. They were slow to warm up and left everything with a dull yellow tinge. They seemed costly and… well, they just look ugly.
That’s no longer the case. Lightbulbs have undergone a makeover! The desire for beauty in the home lighting department has sparked designers into finding different ways to create attractive solutions.
You’ve seen the fashion for brick walls and utilitarian chic at your favorite coffee shop, and that whole look would be incomplete without glowing filament bulbs in intricate patterns. UK-based trendsetters Stanley Wilson and Sophie Gollop are credited with the booming demand for these stunningly fantastic lightbulbs.
Initially the business started as a side project selling old lighting fixtures from disused factories and warehouses. But as interest in their bulbs grew, they teamed up with a factory in Switzerland to manufacture the bulbs. After fitting out a string of high-profile projects, including Levi’s London flagship store, Harvey Nichols, Jamie Oliver restaurants, and more, they were selected by Michael Scorsese to supply hundreds of the bulbs for his movie Hugo.
Moving forward, the team has developed a range of LED-filament bulbs that maintain the aesthetics and color quality of our favorite old incandescents.
With research and development of the LED bulb, there are now many stylish and gorgeous ways to have beautiful bulbs. Factorylux paired with Californian company Xicato who have been striving towards better aesthetics for LED lights. Together they have produced a collection of eco-lamps and LED-filament lightbulbs.
Striking and beautiful, it’s fantastic to see these futuristic industrial looks readily available on the market. The bulbs are made to high quality, and fit well with the range of cords and reflectors available that match. Being so close to the manufacturing process means Factorylux offer a flexible range of choices for lighting, from the fixtures to finishes with the Made For You bespoke lighting service.
Another strong UK contender in the lightbulb game is Tala, who have shifted away from the industrial raw look. The team instead draws attention towards beautification of design, smoother fixtures, and a focus on continuing on making a positive impact on the environment.
Additionally to creating gorgeous looking lights, the company pledges that for every 200 units sold, 10 trees are planted to offset their carbon footprint. It roots back to the company’s name, which originates from an African concept of conservation through beauty.
“At Tala, we feel that the future of the lightbulb is an exciting one. In terms of design, everyone knows that the exposed light has been extremely popular, however the next generations of products can be expected to do much more,” explains Ciaran from Tala. He believes “the growth of the LED industry is crucial to global development, the socio-economic gains that can be provided by low energy lightbults across the world are absolutely massive.”
Not only do Tala’s designs shine as a beacon of great design, but as guiding light to environmental sustainability.
Now stepping aside from LEDs, are the CFLs. Compact Fluorescent Lamps are usually a functional affair, but Plumen’s range of designer CFLs can quite happily take center stage.
One thing you should know about fluorescent light bulbs is that they contain traces of mercury, so you should not throw them away in the bin. Plumen have a recycling program to make sure you are able to dispose of your bulbs safely.
While the exposed bulb gains traction, I’m sure there is a place for these Plumen shapes and spirals. And think of the many different patterns and shapes that these could take on in the future.
Of course, the setback with designer lightbulbs is the increased cost involved. Hopefully over time as technology moves on, we will find that beautiful energy-efficient lightbulbs become accessible to all.
I do hope this little article has brightened your day. Get in touch if you have any other of your favorite bulb brands and lamps that you think should get a shout out. I’ll leave you with a small round up of info to boost your lightbulb understanding.
Let’s talk about lumens.
- In the past we used watts to select our lightbulbs. Watts are a measure of energy, and they show how much power it takes to light the bulb. These days we don’t look for bulbs by how much energy they use, but by how bright they are. The measure for brightness is a lumen.
- Say for example you wanted a bright 100 watt incandescent bulb. That bulb itself gives off a brightness of about 1600 lumens.
- Now that we have other bulbs on the market that use less energy and less power. You can have a lightbulb with the same brightness of about 1600 lumens, but only uses about 25 watts! Over time, this is a big saving on your electricity bill.
- Instead of picking a bulb by the level of watts it consumes, look for the lumens.