The Lightbulb

Save to my articles

It’s curious that new technology is making us hark back to old technology with nostalgia-infused fondness. Take lightbulbs. The market for LEDs is booming, and yet there has been a massive march of old-fashioned glass globes with exposed and often decorative filaments. The New York restaurant Craft is said to have kickstarted the trend more than a decade ago, with many of the world’s hippest cafés, eateries and homes following suit. So why the return? They’re often far warmer, twinklier and more expressive than hi-tech LEDs. Crucially, filament lights work well with the industrial-loft look. Find an exposed brick and a filament will not be far behind. But there’s one problem: traditional incandescent lightbulbs are being phased out in many parts of the world, due to their energy-inefficiency. So, what to do? Make environmentally friendly lights that look like filament lights. In the US, the firm Newcandescent started doing this in 2010 and the CEO, Larry Birnbaum, now offers a range of lights with all the stars, hearts and spirals you need. “We’re all addicted to that soft, warm glow,” says Birnbaum.