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Extract loves.... Plumen

One of the most incredible things about having a London space in Sustainable Bankside, is the neighbours. We are part of an inspiring community of changemakers - and we're proud to keep them caffeinated whilst they do what they do.

One of our neighbours is Plumen. An award winning sustainable lightbulb company. We caught up with Nik for a coffee and for some advice on getting the perfect lighting in your space.

First up, tell us your story

We were the first company to create a design led low energy bulb. Before then, they were very utilitarian and boring and we figured out that if we really wanted to get people to buy them in significant numbers, we’d have to make them more exciting and desirable.

When we launched they were radically different to everything else on the market. It made such an impact that the lighting industry woke up and now there’s a large selection of beautiful efficient bulbs on the market, although ours is still distinct and is regarded as a classic by many.

The efficiency of Plumen bulbs is pretty awesome. 🤘 For a cafe with lights on 7am-7pm, 7 days a week, how long could a single bulb last?

For cafes and restaurants the lifespan has a lot of appeal as you’re using it constantly like you say. Less cost, lower energy consumption, less time up a ladder switching bulbs out etc. The new Plumen 001 LED for instance has an expected lifespan of 20k hours, so for a café with lights on 12 hours a day 7 hours a week has a lifespan of just under 5 years.

There are many different LED bulbs out there, but not all are equal. We don’t only focus solely on marginal efficiency gains at any cost, instead focusing on making sure we’ve got a high quality of light, long lifetime, very low flickering and exceptional dimmer performance. This means our bulbs look better, output better light and last longer.

The other thing we love are your exciting designs, where does the inspiration come from for more playful lightbulb shapes?

We were inspired to create something beautiful to attract people to use efficient technology when otherwise they would have passed it by. The light bulb is a symbol for new ideas and new thinking, so it should excite!

We’re always trying to strike a balance with our designs to both stand out, but also play harmoniously with shades, accessories and surroundings. The designs are all dynamic but they don’t steal the show. They’re fun to play with because they’re quite distinct but they can still make their creative mark in how they’re accessorised and hung.

What about when the bulbs break? And if they do (ever) come to the end of their lifespans? How do you get rid of these?

You can send them back to us! We recycle old light bulbs that have reached the end of their life through a company called Recolight who have recycled 300 million light bulbs since 2007!

Final one… We know that lighting is essential for creating that perfect customer ambience – what are your top three tips when designing lighting in a cafe or restaurant space?

soft general light with highlights

The loveliest environments carefully balance light so there’s a good ambient light level but some contrast between the general ambience and then highlighted areas. In a cafe, a soft general light with highlights on bar-tops and tables tends to work the best.

avoid bulbs which dazzle to the sides

Our Plumen 003 bulb is designed for dining and is really made to answer this need as it has an ambient light with a soft golden glow. It means that it doesn’t dazzle to the sides, using the golden metallic element to reflect warm light outwards. But beneath is a sharper, brighter spot that provides a brighter light for all the surfaces. It’s a kind of instant ambience maker.

light quality matters – choose the right colour for your space

The other big thing for coffee shops is light quality because the ambience is such a big part of what makes them attractive to customers. Within our range of bulbs there’s a spectrum of colour temperatures from a brighter, warm-white to mellow super-warm which is almost orange, depending what kind of atmosphere is desirable.

Plumen 003

More deets...

For more info on Plumen visit

or to lust after their rad lightbulbs on the 'gram you can find them on @plumen

Massive thanks to Plumen for helping us with this blog. We’ve pulled together this Plumen-inspired playlist on spotify as a thanks to our bright-eyed Bankside neighbours. Enjoy. 👊

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