Trending Now in Home Decor – Sunbursts, Sputniks, and Sea Urchins

The Evolution of the Sputnik

The launch of the Russian Sputnik Satellite in 1957 was not only the start of the “Atomic Age” and space exploration, but it was also the birth of a design icon – the sputnik chandelier.  From that moment, the world has been fascinated with the Sputnik satellite’s unmistakable silhouette, and light fixtures emulating that same silhouette began sprouting up everywhere.  Today the same coveted fixtures can still be found, but interested buyers must pay a premium.

In 1963, Dr. Hans Rath of J & L Lobmyer of Vienna designed 11 starburst chandeliers (pictured below) as a gift from the Austrian government to the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center for the performing Arts in New York City.  I remember being able to see the chandeliers when illuminated from my building across the street back when I still lived in New York.  What a sight it is!

image via Graham Turnbull

The Sputnik in Homes Today

In the late 50s and early 60s, the Sputnik chandelier was most often seen in rooms with a typical mid century decor, which was less formal and boasted clean simplicity.  Today, the sputnik is still found accompanied by mid century modern decor, but our style has since evolved and now the sputnik chandelier can bee seen just as often in a room with decorative Corinthian columns as in a mid century home with simpler lines.  Incorporating a variety of design styles and design periods to create a more eclectic space that more accurately represents the style and taste of those living in the space is now the norm and the sputnik chandelier has become part of that norm.
Lauren Santo Domingo via Vogue
Along with the vintage sputnik chandelier, not the sea urchin type wall art and sculptures on the table.
image via Home-Owner-Buff
image via Atlanta Homes and Lifestyle
Small sea urchin sculptures sprinkled through the book cases compliment the radiating arms of the sunburst fixture above.
Image via Caitlin Wilson
image via Design Within Reach
Image via Simplifying Fabulous
image via Pinterest

Sputnik and Sunburst Chandeliers Recently Seen at Market

Below is a sampling of how the sputnik silhouette has evolved.  While the chandelier immediately below looks strikingly similar to the sputnik chandeliers of the 50s and 60s, the two below utilize the same radiating arms as the original sputnik, but the color, shape and material used has evolved and is going back to a more organic shape.

Arteriors Home
Regina Andrew Design
Arteriors Home


Where to Buy Right Now Online:

2.  Oly Studio Sea Urchins, call for pricing
3.  Burst Chandelier, $33,000
4.  Eco Urchin Chandelier, call for pricing
5.  Satellite Chandelier (also available in brass, shown in bronze), $1325

If you’re on a tight budget and a DIYer, you have two other options:
1) Go to Ikea and pick up a $99 Stockholm chandelier and then follow the tutorial over at Ikea hackers/Apartment Therapy.

image via Apartment Therapy

2) Purchase the $89.99 Maskros chandelier at Ikea and then follow Jenny Komenda’s tutorial over at Little Green Notebook.  I really love how this turned out!  That Jenny is one talented girl!

image via Little Green Notebook

Have fun with it!  I’m a huge fan of the sputnik – are you?

Should you discover that I have used your photo and either did not give you proper credit or erroneously identified it, please drop me an email and I can fix it ASAP!

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