Everything You Need to Know about Sputnik Light Fixtures

December 27, 2023
ceiling sputnik light fixture for a kitchen

What does the term “Sputnik” remind you? If you are an astrophile, the first thought that comes to your mind is the first artificial earth satellite – Sputnik.

Yes, Sputnik is a light fixture influenced by the first artificial satellite. It is a very popular mid-century light fixture with extended arms, resembling the satellite Sputnik. It finds its application in almost all rooms of the house owing to its unique design.

History of Sputnik Light Fixtures

The history of Sputnik light fixtures can be traced back to 1957 when the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite. This satellite was the size of a beach ball with long antennas extending from it.

This was the beginning of a new design style influenced by the shape and style of Sputnik. Furniture, lighting, and various other domestic objects were designed with inspiration from Sputnik.

It was Gino Sarfatti, a famous Italian designer, who designed the Sputnik light fixture. Sarfatti studied aeronautical engineering but had to drop his studies due to personal reasons. Using his engineering skills, he designed various lighting fixtures. A perfect blend of beauty and functionality made his fixtures stand out.

Sarfatti’s 2003rd creation was the Sputnik lighting. In fact, the light was designed two decades before the Sputnik satellite was launched, i.e. in 1939. Because of the similarity between the satellite and the lighting fixture, the light was named Sputnik.

Several designers came up with their own version of the Sputnik lighting. With different varieties of bulbs and ornaments that provide a unique touch, the Sputnik lighting fixture has gained popularity over the years.

Characteristics of Sputnik Light Fixtures

What makes Sputnik light fixtures stand out is its distinctive design elements. Here are a few characteristics of Sputnik lights that make it stand out. 

1. Radiating arms or spokes

The notable characteristic of Sputnik lights is the radiating arms or spokes with bulbs attached to them. There can be any number of arms depending on the design of the light. Bulbs can be attached to all the spokes or a few, depending on the design.

2. Globe or starburst shapes

The basic shape of the Sputnik light is a globe to which the spokes are attached. Though the original Sputnik lights had only one globe, modern versions have globes attached even to the end of the spokes.
sputnik light fixtures wall chrome sconce

3. Metallic finishes

Sputnik lights are available in different metallic finishes to blend with different design trends. Some popular finishes are brushed, painted, polished, powder coated, and unfinished. You can select any finish depending on the style of decor.

4. Size and scale

Sputnik chandeliers are available in different sizes depending on the design. You can choose one based on the size of the room.

Sputnik chandeliers can be as small as 10 x 10cms and as big as 60 x 60 cms.  

5. Versatility in different interior styles

What makes Sputnik chandeliers a favorite among many is its versatility. Though the chandelier is designed in a mid-century modern style, it can also be used in a contemporary or modern style of decor.

Applications of Sputnik Light Fixtures

Modern and eclectic interiors

If you want to install Sputnik chandeliers in a modern interior, one with countless radiating spikes makes a perfect choice. You can also opt for a starburst-style chandelier that creates an eclectic vibe.

Another variety is colored lighting, with each bulb concealed within a colored enclosure. The gold or black metal finish looks good in modern-style Sputnik light.

Mid-century modern style

Mid-century modern is the classic style of Sputnik light fixtures. For this type of decor, you can opt for classic Sputnik lights with a small globe in the center with spikes. You can opt for small or big bulbs to create a style of your choice.


Contemporary rooms call for Sputnik lights with contemporary design. Rod Sputnik chandelier with rods instead of spikes, a spider-shaped chandelier with a spider-like design, and a swivel chandelier with a funky design look great in contemporary interiors.

Minimalist spaces

Sputnik lights in simple designs blend well with minimalistic space. Three- and four-armed lights or simple straight spikes fitted with linear LED lights would look good in minimalistic decor.

Whatever style you follow for the interior, make sure that the size of the Sputnik light matches the size of the room and the furniture in it. If the room is small, it is always better to go for small lights and vice versa.
sputnik light fixture

Sputnik Light Fixture Finishes

1. Brass

Brass-finished light fixtures have a warm brass tone, making them a perfect choice for a modern decor style. If you want to install a statement piece in modern decor, Sputnik light fixtures in brass are an excellent option.

2. Chrome

Chrome, especially polished chrome surface, has a striking finish that can add to the versatility of the interior. You can use Sputnik light fixtures with chrome finishes on contemporary and modern interiors.   

3. Blackened steel

The dark hue of black and the polished nature of steel creates a stunning look in the interior. Sputnik light fixtures with blackened steel spokes look stunning in both modern and contemporary interior styles. The blackened steel finish set against a white background can even make a focal point in the room.

Things to Consider While Using Sputnik Light Fixtures

●     Use a dimmer

Unlike other light fixtures, Sputnik lights carry several bulbs. Because of this reason, the brightness of this light tends to be very high. Thus, using a dimmer to adjust the brightness is a good idea.

●     Cut down on other lights

Using too many decorative lights in the same room can take away attention from the Sputnik light. It would be best to reduce the number of lights used in the room. If needed, you can add one or two down lights or a table lamp. But, minimalism should be the key while designing the room.

●     Ceiling height

Sputnik light fixtures look good in tall ceilings because of their unique design. Thus, you should consider the height of the ceiling while installing a Sputnik light fixture. Though different sizes of Sputnik light fixtures are available nowadays, it is best to install this fixture in a room with a tall ceiling.

●     Size of furniture

If you are installing a light fixture in the dining room, you should consider the size of the dining table as well. Typically, the light fixture should be ½ to ¾ the size of the dining table. This balances all the design elements in the room.

●     Light temperature

The light temperature of the bulb is decided by the effect you want to create in the room. If you want a warm setting in the room, you should opt for the color temperature of 2700k. For a daylight look, 5000k would be the perfect color temperature.


Though purely a mid-century creation, the Sputnik light fixture is a perfect blend of different design styles. You can use it in modern, contemporary, or any other interior decor style, provided it blends with the overall aesthetics.

With its stunning starburst design and bright appearance, this beautiful lighting fixture can make any normal room extraordinary. 

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