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The MVP of "Winning Time" Is Nelson’s Saucer Bubble Pendant Light

The iconic mid-century modern statement piece is lighting up Hollywood — and it could be yours for 15 percent off.

men sitting around a table with a lamp hanging overhead

HBO's Winning Time is taking some heat from its real-life subjects: former Lakers executive Jerry West has his legal team working overtime to save face, while Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, also depicted in the show, took to his Substack claiming, "the characters are crude stick-figure representations that resemble real people the way Lego Hans Solo resembles Harrison Ford."

Wherever you stand in the debate, from loathing to loving the ongoing series about the Showtime era of the Los Angeles Lakers, it's undeniable that the '80s sports drama is a visual treat. Edited to mirror the razzmatazz of the Lakers’ on- and off-court style, Winning Time is a maximalist masterpiece dripping with fame and fortune — and the ever-plunging neckline of the franchise’s owner Jerry Buss (played by John C. Reilly).

Floating above it all, within the wood-paneled conference room of the Lakers office, is Hollywood's hardest-working extra: Nelson's Saucer Bubble Pendant Light. Making cameos in other recent productions like Netflix's The Adam Project and Apple TV+'s Roar, we had to ask: What's up with this light?

nelson saucer bubble pendant
The Nelson Saucer Bubble Pendant makes an appearance in the background of Issa Rae's episode of Apple TV+’s Roar.

Turns out, since its creation in 1952, this spherical pendant has never turned off-trend. Designed by George Nelson for Herman Miller, Nelson set out to create a cheaper version of silk-covered circular lamps he obsessed over while on a trip to Sweden. Nelson made his version from industrial wire and self-webbing plastic traditionally used to store ships. Designed in less than 48 hours, the famous bubble lamp has lived on to symbolize good taste for decades.


Nelson Saucer Bubble Pendant


The ubiquity of the lamp goes on to emphasize its timeless design. Winning Time takes place in the '80s, but both Roar and The Adam Project are set in modern day. For the latter, the film’s production designer, Claude Paré, told Netflix's Tudum — the streaming service's behind-the-scenes blog — that he and his team furnished the home of its main character with both "highly curated pieces," as well as second-hand items and pieces from Pottery Barn. In the movie, the Nelson bubble light is hovering over a Saarinen Tulip table. And not too far away sits an Eames lounge chair. While the light doesn't play a role in The Adam Project, it does show that Mark Ruffalo's and Jennifer Garner's characters have excellent taste in interior design.

nelson pendant bubble light
Netflix’s The Adam Project features the Nelson Saucer Bubble Pendant in its main characters’ home, where both high-brow and low-brow pieces come together to create a lived-in feel.
Claude Paré

Safe to say the Nelson light is having its time to shine amidst the mid-century design craze. The Eames lounge chair might be the face of the mid-century movement, but this light is doing its best to steal the spotlight. Put this Hollywood-approved statement light in any room and instantly elevate the mood. Better yet, score the Nelson lamp right now from Design Within Reach for 15 percent off. You better do it soon since the deal only lasts through May 23.

Price: $645 $548


Editorial Production Assistant Madi Budge is one of Gear Patrol's Editorial Production Assistants.
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