Mid-century mood-lighting

When we started to think about the interior design of the space we went back and forth on our “style”. I’m a bit more traditional (I love a shaker kitchen) and Mr Perfect is more modern so compromising was essential. That said, one style we can agree on is Mid-century modern. I realise mid-century is very “in” at the moment and I’m keen to create a space that will be timeless, rather than needing updating with the trends du jour. I figured distinct pieces that nod to mid-century elements, dispersed throughout the house would be a good place to start. And the first purchase we were looking to make was for a “Sputnik” chandelier in our hallway.

The Sputnik chandelier is a nod to the Atomic Age of interior design, when the United States and the then Soviet Union were in the midst of the space race, inspiring an obsession with all objects space-related. The Sputnik itself is characterised by many arms extending from a central orb to support a single bulb. What attracts me to this style is it makes a bold statement but somehow remains unobtrusive. When you walk into a room and look up you’re dazzled by this explosion of light and opulence and when you look back down your embraced in its glow.

Right around the time we were discussing purchasing a Sputnik we nipped over to Lille on our annual pilgrimage. It was the first place we went “away” together and we fell in love with its quiet charm and delicious food. We also fell in love with a little antique store which shall remain nameless (I can’t give away all of my secrets) and we visit the owners every time we go over. This time around I walked into the shop and immediately fell in love with the most beautiful light fixture I’ve ever seen. Original, tasteful, mid-century and I had to have it. While a more traditional Sputnik chandelier, it was close enough in my book. Besides, I hadn’t signed a contract saying I HAD to choose a Sputnik.

All of the heart emojis, if I can say that about something I own and not be tacky?

But now we had to figure out how to transport a chandelier from France back to Cambridge. Let’s just say, you should have invested in a bubble wrap company last year and my personal contribution to sales would have made you quite a bundle! But it was so exciting unwrapping everything!

And then came the installation. While I’m a big fan of DIY and we’ve tried to do a lot of the work ourselves, I think it’s best to leave electrics to a trained professional. Given the awkward placement of the chandelier, we required two people for the install. What you cant see in the photos is the other guy holding the ladder!

For those of you that are interested in the real deal, I’ve found a few options at different price points that may strike your fancy! Honestly, there are thousands of variations out there at the moment, so don’t think you’re limited to the below. BUT if I were choosing again, I’d have one of these. I’ve also mixed it up a bit with an updated take on the classic…

First, for a bit of a budget buster, at nearly $1,000 I love the Laroque Pendant. The gold embellishments on the additional arms add a playful element to the chandelier. Furthermore, the use of a clear glass orb to highlight the unique bulb also adds a touch of dynamism and interest.

Laroque Sputnik Pendant Lamp
Laroque Sputnik Pendant Lamp, Modernist Lighting

For a more budget-friendly alternative, you could also opt for the aptly named “Sputnik Chandelier” from West Elm. A slightly more playful take on an already playful chandelier, I think this would work well in a smaller room with lower ceilings, as you can play around with the hanging height.

Sputnik Chandelier
Sputnik Chandelier, West Elm

As far as an updated version, I think the Bautista hits all the right notes. Firstly, at only $205.99 it’s a great bargain. The 5 arms and milk glass offer a toned-down look, while still nodding to the original Sputnik.

Bautista 5 Light Chandelier
Bautista 5-Light Sputnik Chandelier, Wayfair

Now go forth, and light up your lives!

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