What is Space Age design?

Comments (0) Interiors, Lifestyle


Space Age design as an ideology grew out of the central role that science took in society, in the post-war years of the early 50s. After the horrors of two global wars, people needed a symbol of hope, of the potential for goodness and creativity in humanity.

Something that was able to provide that in massive quantities was the birth of space exploration. Suddenly, the human race was capable of leaving the planet, of flying towards the stars in search of truth and meaning. Thus, a new age of modern design was born, based on principles which continue to this day.


Perhaps surprisingly, it was the furniture niche that most fully embraced Space Age design:

The Ball Chair

A classic example of this is the Ball Chair by Eero Aarnio. Most of the most famous furniture designs ever produced, it has seen countless copies today. While perhaps not entirely functional, it makes up for it by looking absolutely incredible.

First made in the 1960s, the ball construction was made possible by advances in acrylic construction, which was moulded into a sphere. The chair has since featured in multiple Sci-Fi films, from Men In Black to Mars Attacks!

The Panton Chair

The Panton Chair by Verner Panton was truly revolutionary when it was made in the 1960s and still looks incredible to this day. It’s made out of a single piece of plastic, which flows in an unconventional way to create something that wouldn’t look out of place in a Hollywood spaceship.

First unveiled in the Danish design journal Mobilia in 1967, it showed the world how creative you could get with everyday items, that with some creativity, they could be both inspiring and practical to use.

The Atollo Lamp

Designed in 1977 by Vico Magistretti, the Atollo Lamp is one of the most famous lamps to ever have been produced.

It won the Compasso d’Orco in 1979, and reconceptualised how light is brought into the home. It creates the illusion that the shade is floating, as the support structure is hidden within, which in turn makes it look like a UFO about to land.

The metallic construction and simple play of angles have made it a design which has stood the test of time, retaining its popularity to this day almost 50 years on.

Something different

A great example of a fresh approach to Space Age design is the Nominal Pen by London based design studio, Mercator. It’s clear that everyone wants a connection to the currently thriving age of private space exploration, and Mercator found a great way to achieve that, through their SpaceX inspired pen.

The Nominal pen (the name itself inspired by the fact that nominal refers to everything running smoothly during the launch process) features a lid with four retracting landing legs, allowing it to sit like a spaceship on your desk. It can also be personalised with a three-letter inscription on the mother of pearl cap.

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