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 government to create NASA in order to eventually send man to the moon.

Sputnik makes the U.S. headlines in this 1957 newspaper 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 movie 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 20th century.

An example of an Atomic Age interior 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.

1960s Italian Sputnik chandelier with 30 lights encased in opaque white glass balls 1960s Italian Sputnik chandelier with 30 lights encased in opaque white glass balls

Modernist Vistosi disc sputnik chandelie with Murano coral red and clear glass disks Modernist Vistosi disc sputnik chandelie with Murano coral red and clear glass disks

Although the origins of the Sputnik chandelier are a little unclear, it is thought Italian engineer Gino Sarfatti was the brains behind its early designs.

Eighteen chrome saucers on Sputnik arms and spheres Eighteen chrome saucers on Sputnik arms and spheres

A 24 arm sputnik chandelier from the 1950's in primary colours A 24 arm sputnik chandelier from the 1950's in primary colours

Atomic Sputnik chandelier Atomic Sputnik chandelier

1960s Italian Sputnik style chandelier comprised of dozens of white enameled daises 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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