Back to Basics – The Humble Light Bulb

Sometimes I’m continually amazed at just how much my taste has changed from I started studying interior design.  Here I am, researching various types of lighting for a commercial space and what am I drawn to?

Light bulbs.  Plain, good ‘ol fashioned light bulbs.

Doesn’t sound overly astounding, offensive or ground-breaking.  But when I say ‘light bulbs’….I MEAN lights bulbs.  And nothing else.  Generally speaking light bulbs in their ‘crude’ glory are usually only on display within a space when they are located in the ‘spare room’ – the room that’s shielded from guests and is last on the redecorating list.  Or in those films where a dude has a torch shining in his face whilst tied to a chair.  You know the ones.  The bulb generally hangs on a single cable all forlorn, naked and destitute.

Yes, very sad.

Casino Royale

Or perhaps not so sad, when it involves an extremely naked Daniel Craig.

But what happens when you arrange light bulbs in a more creative fashion in little bundles?  This is what happens:

Back to Basics

I’m not saying that everyone should rush out to their nearest DIY store, buy a few bulbs and hang ’em over the dining table.  This particular look can only work in specific industrial inspired, eclectic spaces.  This will NOT work in a ‘country’ kitchen with chicken motifs and gingham table cloths.  No sir, it won’t.  But considering the commercial space that I’m required to source lighting for has taken inspiration from the industrial roots of its local area, this lighting should look, well, um, awesome.

And to be honest, if you’re a contemporary design company that wants to make quite a big design statement and first impression, this kinda design aesthetic will most certainly create a buzz.  I actually can’t think of any design concept that includes such an extreme approach to simplicity and minimalism.

Actually, sometimes with the sheer volume and variation of designs, patterns, materials, textures and finishes available within the design industry nowadays, it’s quite refreshing to strip a design element right back to the bare essentials.  I like that idea.  I like it a lot.

As with all of my design concepts, there’s always a starting point.  That initial design element, object or space that provided inspiration and assisted the creative design process.  This was the starting point for my ‘light bulb’ moment (yes, a very unfortunate pun but I couldn’t help it).

Tolix Chairs

The Conran Shop, London

Yep, you’re very right, they are beautiful chairs.  But if you could just avert your eyes away from the chairs (difficult, I know) to the teeny, tiny light fitting  above the table, you’ll see a single exposed bulb.  I’m not completely in awe of this particular style – I find a single bulb too stark and much prefer a grouped arrangement; like the images above.  More bulbs = more ambience and much more presence.  Don’t you think?

Within my particular design scheme this type of lighting will be used as purely decorative.  It won’t form the main lighting within the space.  Whilst I can appreciate the simplicity and purity of this design, I don’t feel that the bright glare of a bunch of light bulbs would be conducive to a decent day’s hard graft.  So it would be my intention to have them softly illuminated for a little bit of drama and eye candy.

This type of lighting seems to have a greater sense of presence in a commercial/restaurant interior.  I think it’s because of the expanse of space (and therefore allowing more light bulbs) and the overall darker setting.  The bulbs take on a whole new sparkly, romantic and whimsical feel.


I’m particularly intrigued by the architectural form of the cables and have plans to incorporate a similar look in the meeting room of the commercial interior that I’m designing. The appearance of the cables helps to add structure and softens the overall look; it’s actually reminiscent of a chandelier.


So, I’ve been playing around with a few ideas as to how I can incorporate this type of lighting in my design scheme.  I’ve focused on the exposed brick wall and the seating area in one of the offices.  The bulbs that have been positioned in front of the brick wall are suspended from a metal bracket (again, underpinning the industrial vibe) and 3 bulbs (with cables fixed to the ceiling at 2 points) have been located above the seating area.  I should add that the 3D visual is very much in its early stages but should give you a general idea.

Light Bulbs - Draft Render

Draft Image Light Bulbs 2

Draft Image Light Bulbs



  1. dominikawiecha says:

    I’m a big fan of lightbulb pendants too!
    And they can look great in a less industrial inspired space too. You can for example play with colour: don’t you just love those colourful electrical cords for pendants? They’d look great in white glossy kitchen for example. – this crystal lightbulb pendant can add some luxury to a space.
    I also love these simple glass pendants:

    but hey sorry I’m rambling 🙂 Just wanted to say that I share the love 🙂


  2. anitadesignstudio says:

    Haha, that’s ok Dominika – it’s easy to get excited about these things. glad you’re sharing ‘the love’ though! Yea, I know about the various colours available for the cables – I’ve used Powder Blue in my design concept (because of its association with the Georgian period of the building) and I actually featured the crystal bulbs in my board! They’re very nice 🙂


  1. […] a huge inspiration to me (I bought a genuine one, high five!), I had discovered  the genius of the naked bulb and I was frustrated that Northern Ireland seemed to be lagging behind (as per usual) when it came […]


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