Socket to Me: New Styles for the Utility Pendant

Sheila Kim Sheila Kim

The humble utility pendant is anything but humble today, enjoying the limelight in every type of space — from hospitality to residential — and sporting an exposed bulb, traditionally the classic Edison in all its glowing-filament glory. It wasn’t until the introduction of the Plumen CFL five years ago that an energy-efficient A-lamp was designed to rival the incandescent for such exposed-bulb, decorative applications. But, now, a multitude of manufacturers are upping the ante with their attractive LED takes.


Nanoleaf’s Gem white-glass LED bulb. Photo courtesy Nanoleaf.

Nanoleaf is a new kid on the block that is rethinking the shape of the bulb. It recently introduced Nanoleaf Gem, a designer bulb with, as its name hints, a faceted form. The all-white-glass product is currently offered in a 40-watt and 60-watt equivalent version, producing 470 and 800 lumens, respectively, which is on the darker side but still ideal for moody settings. At an undisclosed time in the near future, Nanoleaf plans to unveil a faceted candelabra bulb called Amber.


Philips’ 60-watt equivalent Slimstyle bulb was launched last year. Photo courtesy Philips.

Electronics giant Philips also revamped the traditional bulb shape, last year launching the Slimstyle A19 60-watt equivalent bulb. Its unique, flattened disc shape accommodates LED points in a ring along the bulb’s perimeter, using the center of the disc as the heat-sink rather than the typical bulky metallic fins. Since the Slimstyle debut, Philips has followed up with a new 40-watt-equivalent output and a BR30 version.

Several companies now produce or distribute chip-on-board LED bulbs that mimic the filament appearance. Among them happens to be the oldest French lighting company, Girard-Sudron. Its LED filament bulb comes in an impressive suite of 16 styles from traditional to contemporary, such as matte-satin candelabra or amber-tinted Edison.


Aamsco’s clear-glass Hybrid LED bulb features a filament design. Photo by Sheila Kim.

Stateside, American lighting manufacturer and supplier Aamsco offers a dimmable, all-glass LED filament bulb (dubbed Hybrid LED) in a range of shapes and formats, as well, from globe to torpedo. But the company also boasts quality sapphire substrates, which reportedly perform better and longer than the more cost-effective aluminum would, according to Aamsco spokesperson Liz Congero.


Alva from Tech Lighting reimagines the utility pendant. Photo courtesy Tech Lighting.

Finally, Tech Lighting’s Alva isn’t a bulb, but a complete fixture that replicates the utility socket-style pendant. The sleek luminaire utilizes a downward-firing LED concealed within the socket end and an oversized optic crystal lens that’s laser-etched with faux filaments. The socket is available in a black or satin nickel finish, while the six-foot cord comes in black, blue, white, brown, or gray.

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