Following in the wake of the 001 and 002, the Plumen 003 has big boots to fill and our growing ambition to fulfil! We trod a very fine line in creating this product. We wanted to keep beauty, efficiency and the lighting experience in equilibrium which is actually an incredibly difficult balancing act. So, time to reveal some of the secrets that led to the creation of this brand new concept of LED bulb (Preorder here).
How did the 003 come about?
The design process of the Plumen 003 started five years ago. To put things into perspective, the Plumen 001 had just won the Design of the Year Award when we started thinking about designing the 003.
Even back then, we were incredibly ambitious about our third bulb – we just released the 001 which was a strong statement against the boring and utilitarian low energy bulbs imposed as standard by big lighting manufacturers. We could have chosen the same path and aimed to create the most beautiful LED bulb, but we wanted to go even further.
We wanted to create a bulb that would stir the same passion as the first incandescent bulb. For the 003, we set out to create the world’s most beautiful bulb, period.
What were we trying to achieve?
What seems so fascinating about the incandescent bulb is the way the light appears to ‘burn’ in the heart of the bulb; it creates a mesmerizing effect and a stunning warm glow that beautifies everything within its reach. It’s no surprise why the Edison bulb has always been, and continues to be, so much adored when it provides such an incredible light experience.
During the design process, we kept coming back to the beauty and magical feel of the old incandescent. Even though the LED technology has developed at an incredible pace in the past few years, to the point where concerns over light quality, colour temperature, reliability and brightness have mostly faded, the bulbs still feel quite alien and sterile.
So, for the 003, we saw the opportunity to create something truly special: a new format of LED bulb where efficiency and design come together to make the lighting experience feel amazing.
How did we do it?
First we figured out how we could create two lighting zones from a single LED element by directing some light through optical shafts towards surfaces below whilst peeling some of this light off to be reflected on a warm coloured surface, dulling the glare and warming the light to the side viewer.
We then worked with the British product designer Claire Norcross to achieve the beautiful pear-shaped glass envelope and the framing and proportioning of the gold element silhouette that appears to float at the centre of the bulb.
Up until that point, we were already over the moon with how the 003 was coming together but there was still something missing. The metallic element looked flat – not the alive and didn’t possess that magical burning aura we were seeking.
So working with a jeweller seemed like a natural step. Jewellery designers work with highly reflective material and coloured, transparent stones and through their art, manage to control and animate reflections and refractions of the light to obtain the desired effect. They are basically lighting designers.
So we asked French jeweller Marie-Laure Giroux for help to bring the gold elements to life. She delicately faceted its surface so it looks incredibly beautiful when on and off. When it’s on, the light brings the facets to life, making them sparkle like a jewel and finally giving us this incredible, convincing element that appears to burn.
How does it work?
The 003 works by channelling the light, reflecting and refracting it around the faceted element to tame the glare of the LED. The light from the LED is channeled through a structured optic that carries it through the centre of the metallic element. This allows some of the light to be bounced off the faceted material providing an indirect light source, meaning that not only is the light of a lower intensity, but also it has a warmer colour. The majority of the light however, is projected from the end of the optic, providing an even 2700K warm light. This new format creates a warmer ambient glow, while producing a direct spotlight downwards. It is as useful as it is beautiful.
What inspired us?
The main challenge we were facing with the 003 was to diffuse and reflect the light to reduce the glare so we looked back at the great Poul Henningsen and his PH lamp. The story goes that Henningsen’s mother complained that bright light betrayed her wrinkles so Henningsen created his PH lamp with her in mind. He wanted to break the light up, soften the glare and create a warm glow. We’ve tried to do the same thing by controlling the light that left the bulb and directing it to where we wanted it, creating the best light qualities for each zone.
Of course, there were many more sources of inspiration that came into play in the 003 design process. From nature to architecture to jewellery and beyond! We’ve compiled a few in a mood board on Pinterest – take a look at our journey.
We’re really proud of our Plumen 003. We think we have achieved something that is both energy efficient and retains a poetic majesty similar to that of candlelight or an Edison bulb. What do you think? Did we make the most beautiful bulb ever? You need to see it to judge for yourself but we’d love to know what you think!
Be one of the first to order the order the Plumen 003! The bulb is available to shop here.