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Brief Published: 13 Jan 2014

Light-Bulb Updates: Plumen & Philips


Demand for more energy-efficient alternatives is seeing brands update both the technology and shape of the humble light bulb.

Produced by Dutch company Philips, the SlimStyle bulb was launched at the turn of 2014, coinciding with the end of production of the 40W and 60W incandescent bulb under US federal law. The LED SlimStyle bulb mirrors the style of a traditional bulb but is flattened, with the LEDs placed in a loop around the curved shape.

Spacing out the LEDs in this way reduces the heat created by the diodes, therefore negating the need for a costly heatsink (the cooling component). Lasting up to 20 years and costing just $9.97, SlimStyle is around half the price of previous Philips LED models and provides a competitively priced alternative to incandescent bulbs. 

After the success of its first designer bulb, British brand Plumen has launched a new model designed for more ambient spaces, which emits a softer light not normally given by fluorescent bulbs.

The Plumen 002 revises the conventional fluorescent bulb even more than the first by reshaping the glass tube itself – something never done before by a mainstream manufacturer. The curvaceous flowing shape has an organic feel and was achieved through working with Texan neon sculpter Tony Greer. The warmer glow means the bulb can be used without a shade, allowing the shape to be seen to full effect. 

The prevalence of LEDs and fluorescents allows designers to rethink conventional lighting shapes, but also presents the challenge of softening this often-harsh lighting. See our Lighting report from Milan Design Week 2013 for more on these developments.