Series 6. Eco Icon No.16

Plumen 001‘ high on design – low on energy light bulb



British designer  Samuel Wilkinson and  product design company Hulger have launched a revolutionary new  low energy light bulb’ Plumen’  that has taken the design world by storm  and secured them as a the overall winners of this year’s Brit Insurance Design Awards

‘Plumen is the antithesis of low energy light bulbs as we know them. Rather than hiding the to-date rather un- inspiringly designed traditional compact fluorescent light behind boring utility, Plumen 001 is a bulb that will make you want on to ‘shed the shade’ and let the bulb shine in full glory!

The Plumen bulb uses 80% less energy and lasts 8 times longer than incandescent bulbs, giving you the opportunity to buy an ecological product  packed with design and style. It works just like any low energy bulb but it has a lot more presence.

Design critic and chair of the Brit Insurance Design Awards judging panel  Stephen Bayley, who presented the award to the designers at a ceremony at the Design Museum in London last month, said ‘The Plumen light bulb is a good example of the ordinary thing done extraordinarily well, bringing a small measure of delight to an everyday product.’

The name Plumen comes from ‘plume’ – the bird’s decorative feather, designed to attract attention to its’ prowess and beauty. Wilkinson commented We believe our designs do the same for the neglected low energy light bulb….. the phrase ‘Light as a feather’ also springs to mind….’Light is, of course, primary to design,’ he continued, ‘[and] without it there can be very little, if any. The design of light sources is thus an elemental component of a design aesthetic.’

The Design museum’s director, Deyan Sudjic, said the Plumen 001 was ‘a worthy winner that is both beautiful and smart’.

The Plumen 001, along with the other shortlisted designs, will be on show at the Brit Insurance Designs of the Year exhibition at the Design Museum in London until 7 August.


Series 6. Eco Icon No. 15

Gretchen Jones‘ post ‘Project Runway’ eco-collection

There haven’t been many bohemian-minded designers on the show. There are many women living an alternative lifestyle. I happen to be that woman — a Marie Claire woman who goes from work to cocktails in a sustainable but beautiful way.”

Her new label will be launched under her own name and was inspired by a disparate gathering of sources spanning Frida Kahlo, Jean Michele Basquiat, Kurt Cobain, and the “experimental town” of Arcosanti in Arizona.

Her approach is both sustainable and fair trade.For materials, Jones sourced locally produced silk, wool, and organic-cotton suiting, as well as alpaca knits from a women’s co-op in Bolivia. But although she considers herself a conscious designer, the last she she wants to be is pigeon-holed as “green.” “I think that limits you and puts too much pressure on a label,” Jones tells us. “To me, supporting myself and my local economy mean more than the materials…I think our local economies are the key to supporting my industry.”

Each piece  of the new collection  is named after a  tarot card .“It’s important to name the collections and items like I do,” Jones explains, “because i feel I get to download each design with a special intimately connected to me. It’s like giving you a part of me.”

For a ‘part’ of Jones’s new collection :-


Series 6. Eco Icon No.14


Toy story recycled lamp by Ryan McElhinney


When is a toy not a toy?….When it’s transformed into the uber one-off  objets by visionary designer Ryan McElhinney.

Ryan McElhinney’s career began as a seven-year-old drawing cartoons for customers at his father’s County Kildare pub. Today, the Irish designer’s portfolio displays the same mix of humour and creativity that lead him from Dublin’s European College of Animation to award-winning product and interior design, via stints at Disney and 20th Century Fox.

Working as an animator at the Arizona-based Fox, a chance reading of the first issue of Wallpaper magazine set him on a different path. “Contemporary design was like a breath of fresh air”, explains McElhinney, whose workstation was soon surrounded by style magazines and sketches of cartoon-like sofas and chairs. A career as a product designer blossomed, along with a love of local thrift and house clearance stores. Trawling for materials quickly became an obsession, with Mc Elhinney’s limited budget, natural eye and vivid imagination ensuring he spotted the perfect finds to bring to life his early designs. Full of expression and movement, dollar-a-bag sacks of second-hand plastic toys became the designer’s chosen medium. Telling a story with each manipulation, Mc Elhinney meticulously gloss-painted and fused together each figure in a six week process, creating the first in his series of ‘Toy’ frames and lamp bases.

Each sculpture is one of a kind and hand ceafted at my London Studio. Made of recycled Toys which are bonded toghther and then coated in a High Gloss polyurethane laquer.

Endlessly inventive, designs range from the Knot sofa, winner of the Peugeot Design Awards and finalist in both the BIDA and FX awards, to the Swarowski crystal-encrusted ‘groom and groom’ figures rumored to have topped Elton and David’s wedding cake. Today, recycling is more current than ever and remains at the heart of McElhinney’s work. Fusing old and new, he metamorphoses found objects to covetable sculptural one-offs.. A world away from the dated image of how recycled should look, his avant garde urban projects and hand-made one-of-a-kind sculptures have enjoyed the attention of design aficionados from Philippe Starck to Kanye West, who recently enthused about the designer’s subversively glamorous gold-painted Toy Lamps.

Definitely creating a ‘Buzz’ ….and lighting up ‘Finding Eco”s life…..