• Where to buy Sputnik chandelier lights made today — Practical Props

    sputnik-chandelierCome on, who doesn’t want to own a Sputnik chandelier? It’s an icon of mid century lighting, and to find one vintage would surely be exciting. But sometimes, you don’t want to wait forever for a vintage Sputnik to orbit into your hot little hands. Where to buy a Sputnik light made new today, at a relatively reasonable price? Well, two of our readers — Doug and Nancy — turned us on to Practical Props, located in North Hollywood, California. Not only does Practical Props design and manufacture their own Sputnik lights, but they also are a great one-stop shopping place — online or in the store — to find a variety of other classic, reproduction mid century lighting made today.

    sputnik lightsmid-century-cone-sconces

    Practical Props was kind enough to provide some history and information about the company:

    Practical Props was started in 1991 by Ian Hardy, who saw a niche market in lighting rentals and sales to the Studios here in LA, after working behind the scene in the industry for a few years. Practical Props offered rentals as well as retail from the start. Initially both divisions were under one roof, but split into two locations in 2005 as the business grew too large for the original location. Our rental division, at 11754 Vose Street in North Hollywood, now features approximately 9,000 square feet of mainly vintage lighting.

    sputnik-light-chromeThe retail store, located at 11010 Magnolia Blvd. in North Hollywood, features approximately 3,000 square feet of new, used, and vintage lighting. Mainly due to our great selection of vintage and retro lighting, as well as our reasonable pricing, the store is a popular retail venue for set designers, interior designers, people remodeling and restoring homes, restaurant and store owners, and the general public alike. We are a destination store, but also get customers that pass us on the street.

    repairing-vintage-lightsA large part of our business is custom lighting. We have supplied custom lighting to many retail stores, restaurants, residences, as well as TV and film productions. A majority of our fixtures are made in house, though we out-source to other companies in California, with some components manufactured off-shore.

    mid-century-sputnik-lightAt any given time we provide lighting to 40-50 TV and film productions. Here are a few:

    TV:
    Sons of Anarchy, Mike and Molly, CSI, Parks and Recreation, Community, House, Criminal Minds, Anger Management, Mad Men, 90210, Modern Family, Vegas, Pretty Liars, Army Wives…

    Film:
    Argo, The Artist, X Men, The Fast and the Furious, Transformers, J. Edgar, Poseidon, Rock Star, The Green Mile, Benjamin Buttons, Dukes of Hazzard, Moneyball, Jersey Boys…

    mid-century-starburst-lightPractical Props’ Sputnik chandeliers come in several configurations, five finishes and range in price from $295 – $1,200 depending on size. There are even a few styles of sputnik wall sconces exclusively designed by Practical Props.

    mid-century-globe-lightIn addition to Sputnik lights and cone wall sconces, Practical Props also sells globe lights, which are available in diameters of 10″ to 20″. And, they stock Remcraft’s Retro line of wall sconces.

    If you are visiting Los Angeles or live nearby, it is surely worth a trip to ogle the goodies.  However, if you are like me and live too far away, you are in luck: Many of their light fixtures — including the hot-to-trot Sputniks — can be ordered through the website.

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    Comments

    1. Yay! These guys are great, I’m glad you featured them! Ian is very nice to work with. We have two Sputnik fixtures from them, one in our foyer and one on the balcony. I need to order a second one for our other balcony light.

      Here’s what we have: http://www.houseonrynkushill.com/2013/04/05/its-all-about-the-sputniks/

      • Thanks for tipping us off to these guys Doug — and glad to know they have excellent customer service too! Your sputniks look great. :)

    2. I don’t see a link to shop their store

      • The link is in the first paragraph Lisa — and they don’t have a traditional ecommerce site with a “cart.” Looks like you have to call or email them with your order and go from there. Hope that helps!

    3. We bought one from them several years ago. Love the light and they were great to work with.

    4. I love Sputnik chandeliers. Maybe some day if I own a house with a cool entry or a grand dining room, I’ll get one. As it is, I think they would overwhelm the little spaces in my house.

      • Robin, look into the flushmount fixture. I am considering one and I only have 8 ft. ceilings.

        • Well, it’s not actually flush mount, you just ask for a short drop. I am considering it for the dining room where a fixture would normally be suspended over the table anyway.

          • Well, ultimately the real issue is that any spot in my house that could support a chandelier is instead occupied by a ceiling fan. I have no A/C and when the temperature tops 100 degrees, the ceiling fans are indispensable. But sconces – I could definitely do them.

    5. Hmmmm, they’re in the LA area……The kids get a trip to Disneyland, and I get to go to Practical Props and B&W Tile. Sounds like a good deal for everyone!

    6. Hah, I was thinking of sending in a link about these guys! I ordered a raw-brass Sputnik from them this year as well and it is GORGEOUS. http://25.media.tumblr.com/a67d5542e200193152833571be848453/tumblr_mny09kDCei1spx3y9o1_1280.jpg

      @Robin, NV the room this one is in is not huge — although it is the largest in our apartment — and I don’t find that it is overwhelming at all.

    7. Mary Elizabeth says:

      I cannot tell you when the lights got the name “Sputnik,” but I can tell you that they don’t look much like Sputnik, which was a large ball that had only four or five downward projecting wands. It looked more like a giant tick or spider missing a few legs. The lights look to me more like the Atomic design clocks.

      A mini memoir: I was 10 years old and living in a military/defense industry community when Sputnik went up and began orbiting the Earth. The effects on us were: (1) The science curriculum was immediately beefed up in grammar school and high school. The fear was that the Soviet Union was way ahead of us scientifically, which they weren’t, actually, because we already had our own satellite almost ready to go. It went up the next year. (2) As of that week in October, the school board and the neighboring military installations decreed that we would have weekly air raid drills in case the Sputnik meant that the USSR could launch atomic missiles at us from space. So once a week, an air raid siren would sound and we would all duck under our desks. This was what was supposed to defend little children against a nuclear attack! (3) The seeds were sewn in our generation for the 1960′s protest movement against all things war-related.

      So I like to think of these lights not as Sputnik lights but as Atomic lights, which, like the atom, can be good or bad in your living room or dining room, depending on how you use it. :-)

    8. Perfect timing!! I am in LOVE with the sconces!
      I’ve been researching sputnik fixtures, in hopes of finding one to put in the entry way of our 1952 home. Most seemed like they would hang down too far for that space. But a flush-mount like these would be perfect!! The only other flush-mount I had found was from Jonathan Adler, and it was $900. Yikes. These are so much better!

    9. Wendy in St. Louis says:

      For those of you who have a vintage or reproduction sputnik, how is the light it throws off, really? I have a vintage 12 arm, but I’ve never hung it because at 7w per bulb, it seems like it would be too dim for anything but romantic dining….

      • Wendy –

        There are a few options – you can alternatively use any bulb with a candelabra base. On the Practical Props site they show small clear round bulbs, 15w each. You can also purchase half-chrome bulbs (the upper half is chromed, lower half is clear), they are usually 20w each.

        You might want to try mixing them up – perhaps make 6-8 bulbs Starlite for the visual and then 6-8 15 watt bulbs to ensure you get the brightness you want. I would not mix 20w and Starlite bulbs – they have a very significant color difference (yellow to almost white) because of the steep wattage difference that just doesn’t look “right” visually. (in my opinion – I tried it in my fixture.)

        • Also – the light given off by my fixture (18 arm) is a very warm yellow light. I tried brighter bulbs but found the light to very quickly get very harsh. It gives off plenty of light for what is needed in the space that I have which is pretty large (vaulted foyer with stairs and wide open to other rooms – very big volume.)

          I was just looking at the Practical Props site – they have a light, the SPS2 (a round dish flush mount with 12 arms)….that is brand new and I am pretty sure was influenced by a request I sent Ian to replicate the old 6-arm lights in my place with a bunch of pictures of the old fixture. Pretty sweet he was able to do it.

        • Wendy in St. Louis says:

          Thanks for the info, and thanks to other comments below. I almost prefer the small round all white frosted bulbs, and might give those a try.

          My sister bought a mid cent home and it has a big 60′s chandelier she didn’t like. She kept wanting to put little shades on the pointy bulbs. I switched the bulbs to the white round ones…what a difference!

      • I have an 18-arm with the 15w clear round bulbs (pic linked above) and although it is not super bright, it is bright enough for our living room. My husband hates overhead lights anyway so we have floor and table lamps to supplement if needed. We do have it on a dimmer switch but I’ve never used the dimmer…

      • I was also wondering about the light it throws. I would like to use the 24″ over a kitchen island. Would the light go down enough to light work space?
        Love the fixtures-hoping it might work.

      • The level of light has been my concern as well and why I have held off buying one. I only want to use the starlight bulbs but might consider torpedo shaped chandelier bulbs of higher wattage unless the fixture rating prohibits it.

      • Wendy we have their Sputnick with the starburst bulbs and the light and shadows it throws off are beautiful. We did put on a dimmer but we haven’t had to use it, its not a sharp, blinding light and we have a very low ceiling in our 1953 home.

    10. Heidi Swank says:

      We have an 8 arm sputnik in our entryway with the star bulbs in it, and it lights up that space nicely. I have never felt like it was too dim even with just 8 of the 7 watt bulbs.

    11. 52PostnBeam says:

      Here are two more versions – 15 and 9 light in chrome, slightly less expensive and easy to buy and ship (just add to cart). I bought the 15 light 5 years ago, I broke one of the sconces and they sent me a new one… someone actually called me on the phone in response to my email. Super great service. Great product. I think they’re slightly more elegant because they don’t have the “can” at the end of each spoke. The sconces are a bit hard to get on (that’s how I broke one), but just call them for tips, there was a little trick to it. I have mine on a dimmer, with 25 watt bulbs in each globe. I’ve seen the vintage version priced in the 900$ range, and usually with pitting / tarnish to the chrome. This light is one of the few reproductions in my home, but I could not be happier with it.

      http://www.wegotlites.net/Contempr-Series-Euro-Design-Art-Deco-15-Light-35-White-Glass-Pendant-Chrome-Chandelier-SKU-10934_p_10620.html

      http://www.wegotlites.net/Contempr-Series-Euro-Design-Art-Deco-9-Light-24-White-Glass-Pendant-Chrome-Chandelier-SKU-10935_p_10621.html

    12. Sarah g (roundhouse) says:

      Perfect! Just what my moms kitchen needs!

    13. Do they have any flying-saucer lights a la Eames/Miller?

    14. One word: Want. :-)

      Question on the raw brass, like a trumpet, wouldn’t it stay bright if you kept it polished?

    15. WOW – what a small world! When I clicked on today to see the latest posting I was super excited. Ian is fantastic and since my husband and I were lucky enough to live close to his shop over 10 years ago have purchased many things from him and honored to call both him and his lovey wife friends. He has incredible stuff and so happy others across the US can access his inventory for their mid mod needs.

    16. We bought our outdoor lighting and our gorgeous chrome Sputnik chandelier from Practical Props. It is the jewel in the crown of our 1953 Post & beam home. We love our starburst light bulbs!
      Its a wonderful shop that any midcentury lover should visit!

    17. This is probably a long shot, but does anyone know of someone who is producing a Sputnik similar to the one below? I am particularly interested in something with half-silvered globes. This one was on eBay recently but had some damage and missing globes, and I wasn’t confident I’d be able to restore it.

      I’ve thought about using something like the Practical Props SP17 with half-chrome bulbs, but to achieve a look like this you’d need the biggest globe bulbs (G40) — and the lowest wattage I can find is 60W. I somehow don’t think a 1,440 watt fixture over my dining room table is ideal.

      http://ancientpoint.com/inf/107407-28_arm_mid_century_chrome_lightolier_atomic_sputnik_chandelier_light_fixture.html

    18. When I saw the blurb about the article, I immediately thought- oh Practical Props has those! We have gotten many fixtures from them, more Art Deco styled to go with our era of home. Ian is a really cool guy, and we love supporting our local businesses. They also do repairs and have the right lightbulbs and shades that you need!

    19. After reading this article, I went right to the website and purchased a little Sputnik wall sconce for the ceiling in my tiny little entryway. I did initially have some problems, but these guys were awesome about helping me out and solving the problem. Great product line and great customer service.

    20. We just bought one from Lowes who is also carrying the sputnik lights–some stores do have them in stock but I ordered mine from the on line store —love it! You can also change out the socket to be able to use a different size bulb for those in need of a brighter or different look for their light.

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