back to article Sexy eco-bulb wins Design of the Year

An "imaginatively sculpted energy saving lightbulb" has secured the UK's Design of the Year award. The "stunning redesign" of the dreary low-energy bulb caught the eye of the judges with its "beautiful silhouette and organic form" – the work of Samuel Wilkinson and design company Hulger and dubbed the "Plumen": The Plumen …


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  1. ShaggyDoggy

    Ther's got to be

    ... a lightbulb joke here

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Aren't design awards...

    ...supposed to be for something new and unique?

    Perhaps I'm being a cynic, but why bestow a design award on a bike rental system which has simply been copied from existing systems in many European countries?

    1. QrazyQat

      next step...

      I hear SCO is filing a patent on it.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Design of the year? In my opinion one of the biggest drawbacks of these so - called eco bulbs, at least the CFL ones, is that they won't fit into many of the holders used by incandescent lamps. The holder in the photo used in your article is a good example of this; it has a protection cage which should have it's lid folded over to protect the bulb... and it can't be closed. This is hardly a good example for the bulb.

    Message to designers: Where I'm concerned, practicality outweighs interesting shapes every time. Before messing round with 'artsy' bulbs, please design some affordable ones which are fit for purpose!

    1. ravenviz Silver badge

      Re: unimpressed

      In Tesco they're selling them for 8p each!

  4. a well wisher

    designers pah !

    Cracking design, seems you can't even close the lid of the 'inspection lamp' they chose to display it in

    Pointless form over function

    1. bluesxman
      Jobs Horns

      RE: Pointless form over function

      The icon chosen is my (OT) response.

  5. Hellcat

    Form before function

    "beautiful silhouette and organic form"

    Great but if it doesn't fit in that handlamp (you can't close the 'gate') its not likely to fit under many light shades. The shade is the important part to diffuse and spread the light, otherwise you have a point light source which is blinding.

    1. mickm


      Mediocre design for an already superseded technology.

      LED lighting would appear to be the future.

      1. Mark Jan

        And it'll Still Give Off a Shit Light

        OK, so they've polished the turd that is the CFL and in doing so have made it a more "curvaceous" turd, but as far as quality of light output is concerned, it still is shit.

        The fact that you're supposed to look at it whilst the light is ON and be able to admire the turd's shape is testimony that in it's primary role as a light source, it's shit, otherwise how (and why?) would you want to look at it?

        Form over function, arty-farty nonsense over real world application.

        We'll look back in a few years time on the CFL non-sense the eco-do-gooders imposed on the world and wonder how we let them get away with it...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      I wonder what the losers looked like?

      Epic design fail, especially for lamps in which the shade clips onto the (round) bulb! Yes, like most CF bulbs, it wont fit into any of the fixtures in my house.

  6. adrianww

    On the plus side...

    ...we now have a shining example ('scuse the pun) of what happens when the blokes in the glass factory get hiccups.

    (Or if you're the pedantic sort, what happens when the machine manufacturing the nice regular tubes for energy-saving bulbs throws a wobbler.)

    What a stupid impractical fecking monstrosity...

  7. Andrew Baines Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    How do you remove it?

    These things last for years, they get stuck (especially screw fittings), when you try to remove it, it will just break, then you're covered in toxic dust.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      You could try holding it by the base?

      Just a suggestion...

      Or wear protective gear, see icon.

    2. JMB

      How do you remove it?

      "These things last for years, they get stuck (especially screw fittings), when you try to remove it, it will just break, then you're covered in toxic dust."

      Unfortunately they do not last for years.

      This award winning one looks very fragile and easily broken.

  8. John Robson Silver badge
    Thumb Down


    And fitting in my existing light fittings.

    Else I'm sticking with incandescent - they even contribute to my household heating.

  9. AndrueC Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Bloody Stupid Johnson is alive and well :-/

    Forget exploding fountains. Someone actually got a design award because they bent a fluorescent tube in a silly way?

    1. Elmer Phud

      Balloon modelling

      Yup, Johnson is still around on Roundworld.

      Just don't give the modelling balloons to Nanny Ogg - you know what she'll make with them.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apart from the functional deficiency

    Does anyone else think it looks ugly?

  11. DrXym

    I don't stare at bulbs much

    The extent I care about a bulb's shape is whether it will fit the enclosure vacated by some incandescent. Some of the cheapo CFLs are elongated and wouldn't fit a globe fitting for example but the more compact curly ones do. The curly ones are perfectly pleasant to look at, not that I do. Beyond that I don't care as long as it works.

  12. Banther dodo
    Thumb Up

    I for one welcome this new lightbulb

    Its not in any way limited in function, and the form is lovely. I expect it gives a beautiful soft edge to shadows. More like this please.

    I expect affordable ones to appear soon enough.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Ken not Boris

    Good design or not, it wasn't Boris Johnson who dreamed up the London Cycle Hire scheme. Ken Livingston announced while still in office.

    1. Elmer Phud


      and Boris has sold his soul to Barclays on order to paint the town blue.

    2. Puck

      Kenneth Bikes

      ... you're right, I learnt something new today. Cheeky old Boris!

  14. Anonymous John
    Paris Hilton

    "beautiful silhouette and organic form"

    Am I the first to spot the Paris Hilton connection? CFL bulbs are usually dim.

  15. Anomalous Cowturd

    Twenty quid?

    They're having a giraffe.

    What do these do that the ones on sale in Morrisons for ten pence each don't do?

    Apart from not fit in your lamp shade, obviously...

    1. Anonymous Coward


      If you think twenty quid for a lightbulb is pricey, how about £225 for this shirt?

      Be quick, they've only got two in stock!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looks fragile

    There are significant health risks to breaking low-energy lightbulbs, that one looks easier than most.

    One of the little spirally ones for me please?

  17. Cameron Colley

    I could go one better:

    I propose a Klein Bottle bulb (with the bulbous bit less bulbous if necessary etc.). At least it would have some artistic merit rather than just being designed so it doesn't fit in any light fitting properly.

  18. spiny norman

    Lies, damned lies

    Until recently we got our gas and electricity from separate suppliers, so received through the energy efficient post two boxes of "free" energy efficient light bulbs. Each takes several minutes to reach its full level of light, and even then fails to reach the level of the incandescent bulb for which it is claimed to be a replacement. They are also hideous, and unusable without a shade, which most of our light fittings don't have. So they are all now in a box in the loft, because I can't find a way to get rid of them, apart from the tip. A highly energy efficient exercise all round.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    "but if you'll forgive the pun – they are definitely a light leading the way."

    I, for one, DO NOT forgive this pun. But this is just part of my general ire towards the pretentious twits who think this arty-farty codswallop shows good design.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Energy efficient?

    Not exactly.

    The CFL's I used to replace my 100W incandescents are as dim as a Toc H lamp. Plus they take so long to warm up to full "brightness" I am getting eyestrain trying to read the paper over my cornflakes. I'm seriously considering replacing each single 100W by TWO similarly rated CFL bulbs.

    Someone above mentioned soft-edged shadows... ANY form of shadow would be nice!!

    Another option could be halogen spots with a diffuser of some sort I suppose.

    1. bubba-bear

      Newer CFLs get bright faster

      The newer CFLs go to full brightness much faster than the old ones, you might also want to try a "daylight" colour bulb.

  21. Peter Galbavy


    Well, the latest B&Q own label 21W CFLs I bought are actually quite good - 3 seconds to full light and they are quite bright.

    That said, it's all a con anyway - just a way for the patent holders to push the public domain traditional bulb out the picture. Why, when the concern is about 100W bulbs when a "normal" installation of GU10 halogens in a room use maybe 300W ?

  22. Killraven

    I Submit This as the Winner of the Award...

    ...Pointless. In other words, total meh. And yes, I'm in the group that thinks the thing's rather unattractive.

    One might call it art, but as a light bulb it's primary function is too illuminate things, and if it can't do that in a safe and efficient manner, to say nothing of actually fitting in appliances designed to hold light bulbs, then it's simply another useless piece of "art".

    I do like CFLs in general. I like their heightened efficiency over incandescent and I like that they put off very little heat. I don't like that I've been buying them for over ten years and haven't found one that has managed to last more than 3.5 years (yes, I'm a geek, I actually date bulbs when I put them in so that I can find which brands are worth the investment).

    I'm dearly awaiting the arrival of reasonably LED bulbs too, but those haven't panned out very well as of yet. Of the four I've purchased so far, one lasted two weeks, one was dead out of the package, one lasted about three seconds and the last one has now been working properly for little over a year. The LEDs inside them might last forever, but not necessarily the circuitry and wiring holding all those individual LEDs together.

  23. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

    Try LEDs

    Regarding all the comments about how utterly hopeless these bulbs are, I've just bought some mains-voltage GU10 downlighter lamps, each with three high-output LEDs burning a total of 4W. I'm impressed - they give out plenty of light and the "warm white" colour temperature isn't hard on the eyes. I also got a similar ES fitting spotlight bulb from Osram for a bedside lamp - again, pretty good.

    The LED tech has come on a lot in the last couple of years, and the prices are falling. You always have to watch for the "light output equivalent to an X watt traditional bulb" claims, but the LEDs are are vast improvement over the feeble energy-savers we've suffered until now.

    1. ian 22

      LED colour

      Sorry, but the wife is not impressed. As for myself, being red-green blind, LEDs look OK though my eyes still water at the price.

      As for the bulb, at first I thought it was an example of poor quality control at the factory. I've replaced half of our incandescent bulbs with CFLs- best of both worlds. Instant light and reduced expense.

      1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

        Re: LED colour

        Dunno, there are some nasty LEDs out there. The cheap "cool white" have a particularly unpleasant "mortuary" feel. Before shelling out my hard-earned for the bulbs, I made sure I saw them plugged in.

        1. Marcus Aurelius

          More LED please

          I bought some of the 4W LED ones; the price seems to range from £7 to £25 each. The ones I bought at £12.50 from Simply LED seem to look a bit nicer than the cheaper ones on offer, but YMMV. I suggest you buy one, then buy a set if you like that one. They come in warm and cool white.

          I'm trying to persuade my father to convert his 20 GU10 fittings to use these; or more accurately a combination of the 120degree coverage ones for general illumination, combined with the 35degree ones for spot lighting. I pointed out that 10 of these would consume less electricity than ten of his current 50W bulbs

        2. Marcus Aurelius

          Depends which bulbs you're talking about

          The cheap 20 LED 1W bulbs are worse than useless.

          At the risk of this seeming to be an advert, try:

          The first one on the list are good for spot illumination, whilst the second are good for general area coverage. They switch on instantly and if anything they're the same or brighter than a normal 50W GU10.

        3. Mr Floppy

          Re: LED colour

          As a guide,

          incandescent is around 2700-3000 Kelvin in colour temperature.

          A good warm white LED will be around 3000-4000 Kelvin. I have one that is a bit of peachy orange light against a white wall.

          I do have a LED that is very comparable to an incandescent but to a lot of people, it appeared yellow. I'm starting to like neutral-white. Around 4000-4500 Kelvin and the CRI (Colour rendering index) I think is close to that of filtered sunlight

    2. Mr Floppy

      the traditional LED

      I think the problem is that some people still think that the LED is the traditional 5mm clear epoxy things that give off a bluish tint. How times have changed now with the power LED. Still remember my first .5W nichia, followed by the Luxeon, SSC P4,CREE Q5, SSC P7, Osram GDP, CREE MC-E ... oh wait, I still have them because they last for aeons.

  24. YumDogfood

    So they've given on of the chair fetish then?

    Product design is an incestuous field of luvvies contained within the M25. Artisan fail: Because you did not make it yourself.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    fir for purpose?

    These are CFLs, are they not? What did you expect? Most don't come close to the lumens of their warm-hearted incandescent cousins.

  26. Mick Russom

    Made in China with Murdercury / Mercury

    With the entire world's fish supply tainted with methyl mercury due to murdercury usage in products like this, promoting CFLs against normal light bulbs is murderous. People promoting and selling mercury containing products are accessories to murder. They are killing us all. Toxicity in the modern worlds with mercury, PDBE, PCBs, BPA, etc, are out of control, and these people are low lives claiming being green while poisoning us.

    1. Marcus Aurelius

      CFLs are better

      There is no denying that CFLs take more resources to make; however they consume far less electricity and that electricity is itself produced by methods that involve pollution. The pollution caused by the difference in energy consumption is more than enough to offset that caused by the manufacture of the more complicated device.

  27. Mips
    Jobs Horns

    Form over function

    If that is good design I would not let the judges loose anywhere near me. They might suffer brain damage.

    And then. The design is so bad that only a few will be sold. So, if you would happen to pick up a few when the price fall through the floor, in another 50 years they may be worth quite a bit. So do you buy them or not? ..... Nah.

    Just because something is possible does not mean you should do it.

  28. PeterM42

    50% of the worlds population are below average intelligence...

    ...and this design shows the "average" level is dropping. Either that or the so-called "designers" were having a SERIOUS laugh and the judges fell for it - IDIOTS!

    I expect this to appear on "Made by Monkeys" any day soon.

  29. david wilson


    Leaving aside the practicalities, this seems about as original as someone looking at a pre-war neon tube and saying 'Hey, let's make a light bulb like that!'.

    Still, pretty much any time I hear the words 'Stephen Bayley', I know the odds of not being underwhelmed pretty soon are rather small.

  30. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    That's not a bulb...

    it's a looped tube.

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