In 1957, the launch of the artificial satellite Sputnik 1 triggered what would come to be known as the space race between the Soviet Union and the United States. As the Space Age raged on, it impacted far more than politics and technology; to this day, its influence is seen in design and architecture. The most obvious and cliched interpretation of this era might very well be the sputnik lamp, born from the sculptural silhouette of the sphere and its three wispy antennas.
While the sputnik lighting fixture has been reimagined again and again, its aesthetic has remained the same. The fixture’s dazzle has a knack for kicking up the modern vibe in rooms. Such is the case with Jonathan Adler’s version, the Sputnik Chandelier ($1,425). This perfectly glitzy, dramatized version – in polished nickel or brass – features varying sizes of bright crystal lights wrapped in crown-like casings. It measures 33 1/2 inches wide and 21 inches long with a 60-inch drop.
A bit more subtle but nonetheless signature Sputnik is the Standard 18 Arm Sputnik Lamp, $329.99, from Inmod. The half chrome candelabra base bulbs (for an additional $55) featured at the end of each arm further flatter the light’s unadorned, svelte shape. The simplicity of this particular chrome-plated light would suit a married-in-pop room or add a peek of retro-chic to a contemporary space. Without bulbs, it measures 24 inches wide and is 15 inches long.
Whether it’s the all glammed up or streamlined variety, these modern plays on a midcentury artifact will make any space feel out of this world.