Plumen’s 3D Printed Ruche Shades Combine Beauty with Practicality

11.27.17 | By
Plumen’s 3D Printed Ruche Shades Combine Beauty with Practicality

We’ve seen over and over again how 3D printing technology is changing the design world but there’s still the hesitation from those who don’t believe 3D printing can replicate the nuances of human touch and therefore is “lesser” than traditional methods of production. Plumen wants to change that perception, starting with Ruche, their newest range of made-to-order shades to complement their designer, energy efficient light bulbs.

In partnership with designer and engineer Hook Phanthasuporn, Plumen set out to create a product that reaps the benefits of 3D printing without lacking the delicacy of human craft in an algorithmically generated product. The result was the Ruche shades, designed to look like something plucked straight from nature. Ruche is made up of multiple strips that resemble leaf forms. These strips alternate between each other in a semi-enclosed, bulbous form. From top down, a Plumen bulb would be barely visible but from the bottom, a gradual opening at the base like that of a blossoming flower lets light escape through the shade. The design is both beautiful and practical, a set of a characteristics that’s not always applicable to all 3D printed products.

By using 3D printing technology, Plumen is able to minimize their carbon footprint since the shades can be made-to-order and printed locally/quickly versus printed in bulk and shipped across the globe to warehouses. In an effort to promote the importance of sustainability, the Ruche shades are made with biodegradable PLA or recycled material on request. A perk of 3D printing is the variety of colors, so Plumen included a glow-in-the-dark option as well.

As the Senior Contributing Editor, Vy Yang is obsessed with discovering ways to live well + with intention through design. She's probably sharing what she finds over on Instagram stories. You can also find her at