3M makes more than 55,000 products, most of them intentionally unsexy–Scotch tape, dental-care goods, car wax. “But we wanted to flex the muscles at 3M,” says designer Todd Bracher, who teamed up with the company’s newly launched division, 3M Architectural Markets. “So we looked at the capabilities of their applied sciences and created a new, revolutionary lighting system.” Called Lightfalls, the bulbs could look at home in a nightclub or art gallery. (It lands in commercial spaces in January.) To create them, Bracher took a 3M-made, highly reflective optical film and applied it to curved, double elbow-shaped reflectors. For every seven reflectors, one is backlit by an LED, and 98% of the light travels from reflector to reflector, creating a waterfall of light and giving each bulb the illuminative power of seven. That means a 400-square-foot-wall-size system of 97 reflectors uses less energy than a hair dryer–though, no, 3M isn’t making hair dryers. Yet. (Price upon request, 3m.com)
The Most Innovative Companies
The top 50 companies in entertainment, media, sports, technology, and more.
Most Creative People
Meet this year's inspiring leaders.
Innovation By Design
A showcase for ingenious design solutions.
World Changing Ideas
New workplaces, new food sources, new medicine—even an entirely new economic system.
The apps, tips, tactics, and brain hacks to help you work smarter instead of harder.
A dedicated team of writers, editors, designers, and marketers to tell brand stories through the lens of the Fast Company voice.