The Curious Case of the Edison Bulb: Mainstream Design

Let’s face it, you’ve been tempted into a dark and interesting cocktail bar in London, and your strongest memory of being there was noticing the lightbulbs. You looked up at the strange antique copper fixings and fabric-wrapped wires and thought, ‘ooh they are fun!’

Well, readers, I have been there too. I’ve gazed up at them like a mosquito to a flame, considering where and how will they fit in my home. Will I need to fully redecorate to accommodate them?

This post, I hope, will help you to consider if indeed you do want them, dimly throwing moody light across the fur rug on your parquet floor.

I first want you to consider the inevitable trend of niche, exclusive and intriguing objects becoming mainstream and utterly everywhere. Maybe you think you’re above it, maybe you think this doesn’t bother you. But I ask, did you adore the ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ posters five years ago? And would you even entertain the notion of having one in your home now?! I bet I know the answer to both of those questions.

‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ originally arrived in the public domain, after a number of unused wartime government motivation posters were found in an old bookshop at the turn of the millennium. The quintessentially British stiff-upper-lip attitude of the poster appealed to many, and gave an insightful nod to the 1940’s Blitz spirit. Keen to share this wonderful slice of history, the owners offered the rights out to private companies, making sure that any reasonable intrigued collector was able to obtain a replica. Unfortunately, however, this eventually led to every teenage girl’s bedroom wall being emblazoned with ‘Keep calm and make Cupcakes’ and perhaps the biggest bastardisation of them all, ‘Keep Calm and Love Minions.’ Don’t even get me started on Minions.

I fear therefore, that bringing something back from the annals of history, such as the Edison bulb, although adding to the in-vogue ‘Industrial chic’ look, is already becoming something of a cliché.

First came the gorgeously lit independent bars and restaurants, next came the quirky design shops and galleries, I wonder, when will McDonalds rebrand itself as an industrial inspired hub of Filet’o’Fish and French Fries?


It’s a shame. As an object, they’re mesmerising, and I don’t for a minute disapprove of the innovative, stylish and beautiful range of designs on offer. And just because they’re everywhere, it doesn’t mean they’re not worth having.


If you’re thinking of lighting your concrete kitchen worktops with them, be my guest. I’d definitely suggest also considering the more modern alternatives offered by Plumen, but if the Edison bulb fits, then get one.

What’s more, they’ll probably blow before they go out of fashion and you want to redecorate again.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s