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Sputnik Chandeliers Are Having A Style Moment Again
by TJ Anderson
Touring homes throughout the Nashville area day after day, I can’t help but notice when certain design elements are having a moment. Like shiplap showing up all over the place, from renovations to new builds. And the continued popularity of barn doors for bedrooms and pantries.
For the past bunch of months, I’ve been seeing a certain fixture come back into the spotlight again: Sputnik lights.
If you’re not a big fan of midcentury design, these spidery, satellite-y chandeliers might’ve caught you by surprise as they started proliferating here again (and, from what I can tell, all around the country). But they’ve been around more than half a century, coming into prominence right after the Soviet Union launched the earth-orbiting satellite that gave the light its name.
In the years since, its popularity as ebbed and risen, but as midcentury style came back to the fore in the age of Mad Men, the Sputnik hit the stratosphere again.
You’ll see a lot of different Sputnik variations, from bronze to steel, tight to long-armed, smaller or larger central globes. But they all have that futuristic, dynamic appeal.
Sputniks aren’t for everyone, but naturally, they tend to look great in midcentury renovations, and newer homes that take notes from that era. And they pair well with a lot of similarly classic furniture designs that you also still see everywhere — Tulip tables and Eames chairs and the like.
(The home pictured up top is a new build on the market now in 12 South that has a lot of classic design appeal — subway tile, shaker cabinets, etc.).
Thinking a Sputnik Chandelier might be the perfect piece to round out your dining room or living area? Here are a few places that might have what you need.
Where to buy Sputnik-style chandeliers
Dot & Bo
If you’re working with a more industrial-leaning design but still really like the Sputnik’s lines, this cast iron option blends both aesthetics in a way that I think works really well. (If it’s not quite your speed, Dot & Bo has an extensive array of other Sputnik-influenced fixtures too.)
$149 – $179
Not quite a Sputnik, and not a chandelier, this West Elm pendant gives that space-age aesthetic in a smaller package. A couple above an island in a renovated mid-century kitchen could be an eye-grabber. (There’s a West Elm in the Hill Center in Green Hills, too.)
Prefer (or need) something flush-mounted in your space? Lucent Lightship makes a slew of different Sputniks, including several flush fixtures, like the above Cerro Sputnik. For rooms with lower ceilings or that just don’t need or accommodate lower chandeliers, this’ll give you the telltale arms, without the drop.
Any number of manufacturers have standard-looking Sputniks in various kinds of metal, but Modern Artifax can handle your order if what you really want is a bright burst of color. They keep a few colors in stock, like this seafoam green, but you can also custom order something in a tone that fits your space.
Simple geometric shapes tend to be the hallmark of mid-century style, but sometimes a little added elegance works, if you’re wanting to tweak the aesthetic a little. This take on the Sputnik shape adds crustal accents and a little added interest to the arms. It’s busier, but if your space has some more ornate touches, it might fit a little better than the standard Sputnik look.
Various (this one’s $495)
If you want the real deal, you can keep your eyes peeled at vintage places, or turn to Etsy. Lots of vintage sellers on there usually have vintage Sputniks in good shape, though as with most vintage items, you often pay a premium for authenticity. I found the one above with a quick search, and it’s one of a few that Charlotte-based seller has in stock (and one of many among the Etsy offerings).
Looking for a new place in Nashville or nearby to explore your lighting-fixture whims? I’d love to help you find it. Give me a call or drop me an email, and tell me about your wish list!
TJ Anderson is a Nashville Realtor with Benchmark Realty who's helped countless clients both buy a home and sell a home in Nashville, Tennessee. He blogs about Nashville regularly, from Nashville-area....
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