A Gleaming Globe of Light-Emitting Diodes

One of the 2011 shelter trends is for light-emitting diodes and bare filaments to take the stage. These two trends will both have a powerful presence this year.

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are an efficient and effective source of light. Most bulbs have a lifespan of 50,000 hours, which adds up to just under six years of continuous light – and all by emitting just one tenth of the carbon dioxide incandescent bulbs emit. This sort of efficiency gives me goose bumps. As this clever little light source evolves from widespread uses out in the world (such as traffic lights) into our homes, watch for aesthetic versions of LED lights to emerge.

We can look to European designers to satiate our LED craving – they have an incentive to master this light source because the European Union is phasing out incandescent bulbs by 2016. Moooi, headquartered in the Netherlands, has some glamorous and gorgeous fixtures with gleaming LEDs. Moooi’s Raimond pendant is, “a perfect sphere of mathematical ingredients punctuated by tiny LED lights”. This elegant stainless steel globe is analogous to a starry night dangling from the ceiling (and I see traces of the iconic disco ball too. We can only hope lighting designers follow in the design-conscious footsteps of Moooi and offer up more shining LED fixtures.

This year will also bring more exposed lighting filaments on display. Interior electrical sculptures encased in pristine bulbous glass houses will lend an industrial glimmer to spaces. As you know from our previous discussions of 2011 shelter trends, this year design is concerned with honesty and the essential framework of objects – so it seems fitting that the functional components of light bulbs will be on display. Plus, with the undeniable attraction and allure of LED lights, we’ll take this year to visually drool over the incandescent bulb (it may all but flutter away soon). In the past, light fixtures have existed to hide light bulbs, this year, the bulb and filament will proudly shine uninhibited. Industrial chandeliers and utilitarian lights will reign supreme. West Elm is embracing the trend by offering specialty light bulbs, so your exposed filaments can have vintage flair (yes, I admit, I love these bulbs).

Don’t miss the rest of the 2011 shelter trends.

(Thank you to Julie Beun of The Ottawa Citizen for introducing me to Moooi.)

(Images by Nicole Marnati for Moooi.)