In 1957, during the heat of the Cold War, the Soviet Union sent Sputnik, a satellite no bigger than a beach ball, into space. This move meant that they had overtaken the U.S. in the Space Race. This spurred the American government to create NASA in order to eventually send man to the moon.

119d6c8b8e5cc644401ea69da8e90adf Sputnik makes the U.S. headlines in this 1957 newspaper

Future housekeeping envisioned in the 1978 book Exploring the World of Robots Future housekeeping envisioned in the 1978 book Exploring the World of Robots

An obsession with space was everywhere, on the silver screen, think the 1958 film The Blob. In 1962, The Jetsons were beamed into living rooms, with the father character named George Jetson, inspired by Danish designer, Georg Jensen, who defined modern design in the early and mid twentieth century.

bf9c8c9c15da82859dc6a7176749ff9d An example of an Atomic Age interior

Technology and advertising inspired by the Space Race of the 1950s and 1960s Technology and advertising inspired by the Space Race of the 1950s and 1960s

This marriage between design and science lead to the late 1950s and the 1960s being referred to as the Atomic Age of design. One shining example of this marriage of design and space is the Sputnik chandelier.

04bc425d-e627-498e-927b-b33f2cbb8db1 1960s Italian Sputnik chandelier with 30 lights encased in opaque white glass balls

f7e159a5-1b0b-4284-be89-7f46923822f1 Modernist Vistosi disc sputnik chandelie with Murano coral red and clear glass disks

Although the origins of the Sputnik chandelier are a little hazy, it is thought its early design lies with Italian engineer Gino Sarfatti.

44a02ff1-95f8-4098-a44a-f8e07af353c7 Eighteen chrome saucers on Sputnik arms and spheres

5e2175aa-456b-4663-9ba9-96565556e296 A 24 arm sputnik chandelier from the 1950's in primary colours

4275bce9-ea95-4fab-bb9b-cb3be64a4ae0 Atomic Sputnik chandelier

f72eb881-617b-43e7-a073-a80855c5e57c 1960s Italian Sputnik style chandelier comprised of dozens of white enameled daises

Infatuated with space, the fear of atomic energy and nuclear disaster rife around the world, molecules, atoms and satellites all inspired a decade of design.

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