Upon walking into Buster + Punch’s showroom, you’ll notice motorcycles and whisky bars sitting alongside lighting fixtures, rose copper and steel candlesticks. The young London-based design studio channels a rock’n’roll atmosphere, drawing inspiration from the area’s emerging music and fashion scenes to collaborating with street artists and bike builders.
After working for Foster & Partners, Buster + Punch founder Massimo Minale had his own architecture and design practice (Minale & Mann) by day, but by night, worked until the wee hours in his East London garage—building custom motorcycles and lighting. Many of their clients were creatives who were “fed up with the lack of exciting interior goods on the market and would ask us to produce custom pieces for their homes,” says Minale. Buster + Punch was born to create hardware and lighting with a jolt of attitude—and their latest endeavor is a beautiful LED lightbulb that’s worth showing off. While exposed, old-fashioned filament bulbs have seen a resurgence—they’ve reached near ubiquitous status in restaurants for their vintage ambiance—they’re still power-guzzlers that governments and environmentalists want to phase out. Yet LED options are few and far between, meaning most have to work with the mundane, white offerings. The Buster Bulb is a hybrid that many have been waiting for.
“Although LEDs are great for the environment they are notoriously hard to work, as they give off a harsh light that is even harder to control,” Minale explains to CH. “Many large companies have been working for many years to tackle this problem, but none have succeeded. We believed that as we were small, independent and had no constraints, we could attack this from a more interesting angle. The trick is not to control the LED itself but to control the elements around it.”
The result is a teardrop-shaped, fully dimmable bulb with a patented resin light pipe that not only gives off ambient light, but also can focus light on objects and surfaces below the bulb. It has a beautiful metallic sheen in three different glass colors, each of which gives off a different light quality from dim to warm and crystal clear. And they last longer than traditional bulbs—up to 10,000 hrs or roughly five years of use (though in comparison, most LED lights have an average life span of 25,000 to 50,000 hours). Buster + Punch notes that the Buster Bulb consumes 1/20th of the energy of traditional lightbulbs.
Wanting to give people an alternative as flattering and beautiful as the much-loved filament bulb that could be as energy-efficient as LED technology, Minale’s team had to be inventive in both the tech and design components. “It became apparent that we should not try and mimic the filament bulb but to invent a new type of lightbulb with its own unique light quality,” he says. “We started with a familiar teardrop shape to the bulb and then started to play with a hundred different exposed LEDs in a hundred different forms, soon realizing that we were playing with the wrong things.”
“The breakthrough came when we hid the LED inside a metal housing and invented a patented resin light pipe to transfer the light in a subtle ambient way, much like the beloved filament bulb,” Minale continues. “We finally had a good bulb, but wanted to make a sexy bulb, something that would finally convince people that saving the planet can also look [like] a million bucks.”
Find everything from Buster + Punch’s Buster Bulbs (£40) to the Boneshaker 79 custom motorbike (£25,000) at their online shop.
Showroom and product images courtesy of Buster + Punch