We were there for the launch of the instantly iconic torqued helix of the Plumen 001, the radical compact fluorescent lamp that elevated the lowly light bulb to eco-conscious design object status. Since its debut in 2010, the helical CFL has become an award-winning, museum-worthy icon, even as the Edison bulb has asserted itself into nouveau-rustic interiors over the past few years. I personally find the bright 2700K luminaire to be well-suited to most settings, but, as they note on their Kickstarter page, "it works for areas that need to be bright, but isn't always perfect for dimly lit ambient spaces, like bars, coffee shops or your living room. Places where warmer tones define a texture and softness in the atmosphere—that's where the 002 comes in."
As Roope noted regarding Plumen's recent collaboration with Middlesex University, they've been working with the 001 for some four years now, and the second product offers a noticeably different aesthetic, both in form factor and usage: If the Edison bulb is shorthand for steampunk-y vintage, the Plumen 002 vaguely evokes Art Deco, offering the brightness equivalence of a 30W incandescent "for the coziest of contexts." Viewed on-end, the hemispherical shape suggests a filament bulb, which belies both the axe-like profile and slim, bisected teardrop shape of the frontal view. It's both more and less like a traditional light bulb than the coils of the Plumen 001, referencing its silhouette but literally paring it down to a more modern form.
A strong concept emerged around blowing the glass tube like a bottle to make a much more fluid and sensual form, whilst still completing the loop needed for the light technology to function. This approach hadn't been done in any mainstream bulbs before, but the team believed it was plausible.
To help, Texan neon sculptor Tony Greer was enlisted, an artist who hasn't left a stone unturned in his exploration of glass and light in his illuminated and animated glass forms. Tony created sketches and prototypes, so the team could observe the effects of irregular chambers on the luminosity and texture of light.
The work of British artist Barbara Hepworth also became a huge inspiration. The sculptor created basic shapes, yet with incredible, sensual complexity that make them feel infinite. With the freedom to create any three-dimensional form with their new technique, Plumen wanted to try and capture this sense of the infinite and this richness and complexity in the simplistic looping shape.
Check out their Kickstarter pitch video (it's a good one) and check out their just-launched project page to learn more, including why they've turned to crowdfunding for the Plumen 002.