When Louis Bernard Woeste and William A. Stephens filed a patent for a so-called myriad reflector in 1916, the dawn of disco was still decades away. But their glittering mirror ball—destined for ballrooms, nightclubs, dance pavilions, and skating rinks—was made with revelry in mind. Shiny orbs hovered over bandstands hosting jazz musicians in the 1920s, twinkled above dancers in Casablanca (1942), and dazzled a club scene in Some Like It Hot (1959).
By the 1970s, when that super-glam, sparkly club culture—disco!—at last arrived, the mirror ball fit right in, a silvery staple of underground New York dance spots like The Loft, The Gallery, and, later, legendary nightclub Studio 54, where revelers grooved beneath its disorienting shimmer. (Studio 54’s was made by Omega National Products in Louisville, Kentucky, famous today for crafting disco balls for Beyoncé and Madonna.)
Disco balls stuck around in bars and clubs—just a few years ago, AD100 firm ASH NYC hung
a 60-inch dazzler in the Candy Bar at their Detroit hotel The Siren. But today, as interiors experience a ’70s revival, the disco ball has entered a new domain: the home.
“It instantly adds drama and play,” explains AD100 designer Kelly Wearstler, who recently collaborated with Dutch artists Rotganzen on a collection of surrealistic, disco-ball-esque objets. Meanwhile, writer Brooke Metcalfe hung a trio over the kitchen island in her English manse, and AD100 designer Jane Hallworth, for a recent project, indulged her client’s love of the groovy staple by hanging an XL version in the office. “Disco balls represent the best of times,” Hallworth muses. “They are making a resurgence because they are joyfully childlike.”