The Sputnik

The first satellite that ever orbited the earth was the Soviet Union's Sputnik satellite, launched in 1957. Soon thereafter the launch inspired the creation of NASA in the United States, which in turn launched an infatuation with all things and objects space-related. Furniture and accents embraced this influence, with iconic pieces, including the Sputnik chandelier, showing that this style has staying power in hip households. From Design Within Reach's Satellite Chandelier (shown here)

to the vintage ones you might spy at an antique store, these chandeliers' unique shape have made them a standout piece in homes. If you want to learn more about this fascinating chandelier, check out Houzz's article on Sputnik chandeliers:

Sputnik's launch was in 1957, but its influence on the "Atomic Age" of design through the 1960s and beyond is impressive. One item we still see today is called the Sputnik chandelier, a mid-century modern light fixture that boasts many arms, each extending to support a single light bulb. This fixture has become a favorite for designers in many applications.

The classic setting for a Sputnik light is in a mid-century modern room. You will commonly see it with brass arms, paired with medium toned woods and retro colors such as aqua. It's a playful, punchy addition to a well-composed living room.

The Sputnik has become an iconic design, and as such can be mixed with any other classic design pieces from any era. Here, it's in complete harmony with a mid 1950s Saarinen tulip base table and post -modern Phillipe Starck Louis Ghost chairs. Adding mirrors to reflect and the tiny light fixtures makes the Sputnik feel even more impressive.

The Sputnik works in the most modern and minimalist of rooms as well. It adds just the right amount of frill without being frilly. I would have gone a little bigger here, given the ceiling heights of the room, but the style is right.

A Sputnik can look daring with a dark painted ceiling. The trellis graphic wallpaper and black ceiling are the last things I would expect to be paired with a Sputnik light, but the effect is urban, chic and contemporary.

A brass-toned Sputnik combined with luxurious textures such as velvet and sheepskin and accented with golden brown color tones is feminine and rich.

A silver-toned Sputnik with other silver and gray accents can feel cool and composed.

A splash of red on a smaller Sputnik chandelier, in an otherwise neutral and monochromatic bedroom, creates a memorable effect.

An interesting art installation can be a nice complement to a Sputnik ceiling fixture.

A recent version of the Sputnik chandelier is more organic. This version is called the Bubble chandelier and it is becoming more and more popular.

There are many sources for Sputniks. Here is a long-armed version.

And here, a more petite short-armed version.

Here's the newer Bubble version.

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