Combining low energy with style has never been an easy trick to pull off. But that could change this month as a British design company introduces the ‘world’s first designer compact fluorescent’. Ray Molony reports

Is there a more unloved light source than the compact fluorescent? If they’re not sitting boxed and unopened in the cupboard with the other freebies from energy companies, they’re hidden in the downstairs loo, where you curse their lack of urgency in ramping up to full light output while staring in bafflement at your Stieg Larsson.

However, British company Hulger has decided to rehabilitate the CFL with a striking sculptural design.

Hulger dubs itself a ‘boutique electronics brand’, famed for its unusual designs for mobile phones, computers and iPads.

The company was established in 2005 by Michael-George Hemus and Nicolas Roope and the Plumen design was developed in collaboration with designer Samuel Wilkinson.

‘It’s strange that the bulb, an object so synonymous with ideas, is almost entirely absent of imagination’, muses Roope. ‘This is still a low energy bulb but with a lot more presence. ‘Plumen is the antithesis of low energy light bulbs as we know them. Rather than hide the unappealing traditional compact fluorescent light behind boring utility, Plumen  is a lamp you’ll want on show.’

The Plumen 001 is built with beauty at its heart, glowing with the aesthetic of a sculptural object. The forms the glass tubes take are irregular yet harmonious, as the two organic shapes mirror each other to create symmetry.

The name Plumen comes from ‘plume’ – the bird’s decorative feather, designed to attract attention. ‘We believe our designs do the same for the neglected low energy light bulb,’ says Roope.

The first Plumen concept design joined the prestigious permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, while the second was featured at the Victoria and Albert museum in London.

A CFL to be proud of

Award for Philips LED

Philips has been given an award for its 12W LED bulb, a replacement for the 60 W incandescent bulb which was banned last month.

CFL/halogen hybrid

GE has unveiled a GLS lookalike that combines CFL with halogen in a bid to address consumer dissatisfaction with the run-up time of CFL. The idea is that the halogen capsule inside the hybrid lamp comes on instantly, allowing it to operate noticeably brighter in less than a half a second.