It sounds like something that only a technology nerd could love: an LED bulb that’s shaped like a mini-ice hockey puck, with an adjustable color temperature that ranges from rosy amber (2400 degrees Kelvin) to a calming white (3500 degrees Kelvin) and a dimming capacity that goes from 100 percent to zero.
But add British designer Sebastian Bergne to the picture, and this little LED hockey puck zooms right up to the really cool department. He embedded it into a thin wisp of white plastic that’s shaped like a curl and as light and playful as a beam of light.
It looks like a small sculpture.
“Curl,” as Bergne calls this neat little design, is not merely cool, however. It’s also educational. His client, Luceplan, an Italian lighting manufacturer, wanted a design that demonstrated two things. First, that an LED bulb can have many shapes, including one that resembles an ice-hockey puck (the one here is about 1 1/2 inches in diameter).
The second and even more important directive was that the design provides homeowners with a hands-on lesson in the different colors of LED light that are available. Incandescent bulbs, considered the gold standard by most consumers, have only one slightly yellowish/red color, designated by its Kelvin temperature of 2700 degrees. LED bulbs, in contrast, can have Kelvin temperatures that range from 2400 degrees Kelvin (it’s reddish with a touch of yellow) to 6500 degrees Kelvin (it’s garishly white). The bulb in the Curl lamp ranges from the low end of the LED color temperature scale to the middle, the normal range for residential and home office use.
To give the Curl a little time warp twist, Bergne’s controls for this digital LED bulb are analogue-styled. You adjust the color temperature by turning a chrome ring around the light in the same way that you adjust the volume knob on your car radio.
Curl, which measures about 10-inches high, functions equally well in an upright position or on its side. And, like a small sculpture, it’s meant to accessorize a space and create a mood, not illuminate an entire room. The quality of the light is soft and indirect (it’s reflected off the “curl”), just the thing for a romantic, candlelit dinner or light-hearted pillow talk.
The light bulb cannot be changed, but, as with all LED bulbs, this one has a very long life — about 40,000 hours or, with normal usage, about 15 years, Bergne said.
Luceplan’s suggested manufactured retail price is $435. It retails for $369 (a 15 percent discount) at Illuminations, a local lighting shop with stores in Georgetown and downtown D.C.
Katherine Salant has an architecture degree from Harvard. A native Washingtonian, she grew up in Fairfax County and now lives in Ann Arbor, Mich. If you have questions or column ideas, she can be contacted at email@example.com or www.katherinesalant.com.