Dan Flavin 1970 untitled (to Bob and Pat Rohm)
dan flavin, 1970, untitled


The disappointingly ineffective, much-touted high-design of the Plumen, to us, reveals just how desperate designers are to find a bulb that will override the ugly light of CFLs. Starting in 2012, the provisions of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act will go into effect: incandescent bulbs will start to be phased out, starting with 100 watt bulbs and working down the wattage line over several years. Finding technology that can replace incandescent bulbs is proving a challenge. Film Noir Johnny, a mysterious commenter on a facebook post about CFL’s, described the dilemma eloquently:

“Unless the ugly spiral low-energy bulbs can equal classic Edisonian incandescent bulbs in warmth and glow, no one should ever be forced to use one. This is a nationally important aesthetic issue and the stakes are huge.

….If light bulbs were men, the classic incandescent would throb warmly. The new spiral would wither and shrink… ‎and we would have to pause for several seconds before the third-rate, iron-curtain illumination occurs…

The beauty of incandescence, of course, is that it improves upon reality rather than merely attempting, without imagination, to recreate it. It’s far sexier than “virtual sunlight” (halogen) and will also reveal unseen subtlety and nuance across the surface of an eggplant.”

We take Film Noir Johnny’s point to heart: basic aesthetics ARE important  to us, and to our spirit and health. Flourescent light makes us FEEL terrible – Dan Flavin’s artwork aside. Wired Magazines’s recent article on the lightbulb bears this out:

Evolutionary biologists believe that human lighting preferences are the result of our trichromatic vision—rare in nonprimates—which makes us particularly suited to daylight and the perception of primary colors. There’s an anthropological component as well: For 400,000 years, humankind has been banishing darkness with fire. And Edison’s bulb is, at its core, a burning filament that casts the glow of a flame. Abandoning incandescent bulbs means abandoning fire as our primary light source for the first time in human history.

We can’t imagine how we’d feel living in the dim, arid light of a CFL. We have yet to see one we like, and we hate that they contain mercury.

CFL light bulb lit
Trusty Joe

So we’re on the hunt for a truly pleasing, environmentally-friendly bulb. Having read Consumer Report’s free PDF on lighting options, we’re going to start testing out LED’s. And we’re looking forward to trying the new soon-t0-be-released Switch LED bulb mentioned in the Wired article.

Switch LED lightbulb

If anyone knows of a CFL they think fits the bill, please let us know.In the meantime, our current solution is