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Brit Insurance Designs of the Year

The ’Oscars of the Design World’ name the Plumen 001 light bulb the design of the year, writes Lucy Bullivant.

Brit Insurance Designs of the Year


April 8th, 2011

‘2011 was not a year to reward high-end design devised purely for conceptual reasons or added-value results’, according to the author Will Self, jury member of this year’s Design Museum Brit Insurance Designs of the Year.

Beating over 90 entries was Plumen 001, a new kind of low-energy light bulb designed by Samuel Wilkinson with concept and design direction by Hulger.


Plumen 001 light bulb. Brit Insurance Designs of the Year 2011

‘The standard CFs are a bit soulless’, said Wilkinson. ‘They don’t have the poetry of the incandescent’.

Using 80% less energy, Plumen, named after a bird’s show feather, lasts ten times as long, and the team was ‘shocked, stunned and delighted’ to beat the groundbreaking iPad and heavyweight designer industrialist James Dyson’s fan and receive their trophy, designed by Ross Lovegrove at the Awards Ceremony on 15 March 2011.


Dyson Air Multiplier Fan. Brit Insurance Designs of the Year 2011

It ‘is a good example of the ordinary thing done extraordinarily well, bringing a small measure of a delight to an everyday product’, said Stephen Bayley, Chair of this year’s Jury.

It’s ‘a worthy winner that is both beautiful and smart’, said Design Museum Director Deyan Sudjic.

‘It does away with the superfluous to achieve maximum economy of means. It’s a bulb that doesn’t need a shade and so goes a long way to make up for the loss of the Edison original’.


Plumen 001 light bulb. Brit Insurance Designs of the Year 2011

Self admired Plumen’s neatness: ‘it’s appealing and covetable. Light, is of course, primary to design. Without it there can be very little, if any. The design of light sources is thus an elemental component of a design aesthetic.’


Hero image: Brit Insurance Design Award, designed by Ross Lovegrove with Fernando Gutierrez and produced by Materialise and Endpoint. Photo by Luke Hayes

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