New Design for Light Bulbs

Courtesy Solovyov Design

With a clever prototype, a design duo finds a way to re-envision the unfortunate CFL bulb.

“The little squiggly pigtail ones.” That’s how U.S. Representative Joe Barton referred to compact fluorescent lightbulbs, or CFLs, in a speech he gave last fall. CFLs have been the target of scorn lately, their high cost and harsh glare decried by politicians balking at new regulations that will phase out incandescents and replace them with the dreaded curlicues. Histrionics aside, the aesthetic objection does resonate: Are we condemned to a future of silly-looking bulbs?

Not if Igor and Maria Solovyov, designers from Belarus, have anything to do with it. Insight, their playful but elegant redesign of the CFL, transforms the bulb’s tubing into the contours of the brain, creating a visual pun on the old cartoon shorthand for the “Eureka!” moment. A light goes on over our heads, and suddenly the bulb’s design possibilities are evident. Though it’s still in the concept stage, the Insight shows that the CFL has real potential to become a beautiful object in its own right.

Fact: Compact fluorescent lightbulbs use 75 percent less energy and last as much as ten times longer than incandescent bulbs.