Julie Lansom's Handwoven Sputnik Lamps are a Cult Sensation

Get ready for the cult light fixture quietly taking over the Internet. Hyperbole? Perhaps, but it's fair to say that Julie Lansom's Sputnik lamps have captured our attention in a major way. The Paris-based photographer and designer crafts each intricate, one-of-a-kind wood-and-yarn creation by hand, customizing them to individual orders. Sculptural and elegant, they're a seamless fit with multiple aesthetics and a graceful way to set any room aglow. Here, Lansom shares a behind-the-scenes look at the making of an undercover hit.

Sputnik Lamp by Julie Lansom

(Photos © Julie Lansom)

What was the initial inspiration for the Sputnik lamp?
My dad is an art dealer, so I grew up around bric-a-bracs and always had a thing for furniture. The notch system behind the Sputnik lamps comes from a 1960s lamp I found in a vintage shop. But many lamps back then were made of poor materials and had sad colors and shapes. I decided to work on that idea and design lamps focusing on their shapes and their colors. I've always been obsessed with colors—that's a very important aspect of my work. I love searching for an object to have a crush on and bring home. I have a very simple approach to design: I just design products I'd like to have in my home. Sputnik was the name given to the first Russian satellite sent into space in 1960s. The Sputnik lamps are inspired by the retro-futuristic spirit of those ships. I like to see them as flying saucers and UFOs. And I was a bit crazy about spirographs and their 3D aspect when I was a kid!

Sputnik Lamps

(Photos © Julie Lansom)

What does the process of creating one involve?
Patience and passion! I design the lamps and work with a carpenter in Paris to build the wood structure. Then I do everything [else] by myself in my workshop, from the painting to the weaving—which is the longest, but my favorite, part of the whole process. I have my selection of yarns and I usually just look at them and decide on new combinations. It's kind of instinctive. The idea is that you can choose the structure, the color of the structure, and the colors of the yarn; the possibilities are endless, and I will never get bored of that. It takes around three to four days to make a lamp. The weaving by itself takes from two to eight hours, depending on the size of the lamp! Each is unique and is the result of a long, meticulous, and passionate work.

Julie Lansom studio

(Photo © Amandine Paulandré)

What effect do you hope your lamps have on a person's mood or environment?
I spend so much time on each lamp—I'm always thrilled to see how they look in their new homes, and I love it when customers send me a photo after they've installed one! The light they release and the shadows they project on the ceiling and  walls  create a great atmosphere and have a good effect on me and apparently on other people. That's the best reward for me.

I'm the former Executive Editor of Lonny.
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