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Fluorescent tube lights: clean lines, soft glow, cool vibe

January 15, 2012 |  9:00 am

Functionals Luftschiff
In the world of home lighting, the brightest star may be the LED, the long-lived light-emitting diode, but we're showing a little love for that forerunner of energy efficiency: the fluorescent tube. Some of the latest designs celebrate the tube's long, linear shape, and with the help of new bulbs that have a less clinical glow, the result are fixtures that look made for a loft instead of a hospital. The vibe? Cool, not cold.

Castor Design Recycled Tube LightWe've got a sampling of designs with the caveat that sizes and prices can vary so much, you'll want to check manufacturer's sites as well as Google for purchasing options. We'll start with Recycled Tube Light, right, by Toronto-based Brian Richer and Kei Ng, who work under the name Castor Design. They arrange burnt-out fluorescent tubes as an unconventional lampshade. Illumination comes from halogen bulbs set inside the tubes. The design is sold through YLighting as a pendant light or a table lamp.

The Luftschiff, pictured at the top of the post, a new edition to the Functionals collection. Luftschiff takes its name from a 1930s zeppelin, fitting for a 4-foot-3 aluminum vessel that seems to float. The hefty black silhouette emanates pure white light from twin fluorescent tubes.

Keeping reading for more designs ...

Foscarini Troag
Troag, one of the newer releases from the Italian lighting company Foscarini, is a suspended fixture whose fluorescent tubes are cradled by a canoe-shaped wood frame. The lamps come in three sizes and three colors, a light natural wood finish as well as dark brown or black lacquer. Photo: Foscarini


Louvre Light Established and Sons

The Louvre Light designed by Klauser and Carpenter for manufacturer Established & Sons takes its cues from Venetian blinds. Aluminum louvers with soft, rounded corners deliver ambient light and directional light. In L.A., it's sold at Twentieth. Photo: Established & Sons


Artek Table Lamp
Finnish manufacturer Artek recently released a minimalist table lamp that encases its fluorescent tube in a long birch plywood box painted in crisp, clean white. Photo: Tuomas Uusheimo / Artek


Artek Bright Light Table Lamp
Artek also recently released the Bright Light Table Lamp, whose soft illumination comes from a twin fluorescent tube set behind Plexiglas. The box is painted birch plywood. Photo: Tuomas Uusheimo / Artek


Light Staffs
From his Dyad studio in Brooklyn, Douglas Fanning makes his Light Staffs in steel, above, or brass. Photo: DYAD


John Oddo bathroom
The impetus for our look at tube lighting was our November feature on on a 495-square-foot Echo Park house. Readers were curious about many of the design details, including the fluorescent tube light in the bathroom, above. We passed along the question to the home's designer, Good Idea Studio of Los Angeles, which kindly provided the sourcing: That bathroom light is the Thin fixture manufactured by Viso. Photo: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times



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Photo credit for Luftschiff: Functionals. Photo credit for Recycled Tube Light: YLighting.