Sunday, 23 May 2010

Futuro

Futuro is a flying-saucer shaped house made of fibreglass-reinforced polyster plastic, which was designed by the Finnish architect Matti Suuronen, and which was first produced in 1968. It is one of my greatest design obsessions, and I thought now would be a particularly good time to blog about it because fashion seems to be starting to shift back towards a 1960s aesthetic (The Fashion Editor At Large recently blogged about this). Futuro houses are based on what Suuronen called "pure mathematics": they are spheroids, with the key ratios represented by π. The first Futuro house was developed as a ski cabin for a school friend of the architect; the brief was that it had to be "quick to heat and easy to construct in rough terrain." Futuros can be heated to room temperature in 30 minutes, even in cold climates, and they consist of 16 elements which are bolted together. The houses could be dismantled and reassembled in two days, and helicopters were used to transport pre-assembled ones to remote locations.

Futuro was shown at the Finnfocus export fair in London in October 1968, and shortly afterwards the design gained worldwide prominence and the popularity of Futuro soared, with units being exported worldwide for both personal and commercial use. They were manufactured in Finland by a company called Polykem Ltd., which specialised in neon lighting and plastic domes. Sadly extremely few Futuros remain in good condition today anywhere in the world; I just love the design, the 1960s Space Age optimism of it, and the way it sits in natural landscapes looking so incongrous yet strangley complementary to the surroundings.

The information and the pictures in this post are all from the excellent book Futuro edited by Marko Home and Mika Taanila (Desura Oy Ltd, Helsinki, 2002; ISBN: 952-5339-13-0):

Click all images to enlarge.

This is just fantastic:

Inside, with the central fireplace/grill:

I love how their elevated stands make them look like UFOs which have just landed; "first came the egg, then came the egg-cup," Suuronen said.

Futuro living:

Futuro postage stamp:

The book also has details of other futuristic plastic homes, like Venturo:

And the 'House of the Future' built by the Monsanto Company in 1957:

The book is really worth buying. As well has having lots more imagery, and a lot of text in both English and Finnish about all aspects of Futuro, it comes with a DVD with some brilliant footage from the 60s.

These are some stills from the DVD:

Such a shame this was never built:

I love how the entrance stairs drop down, and are then pulled up again once you're inside:

All images and information in the post are from Futuro edited by Marko Home and Mika Taanila (Desura Oy Ltd, Helsinki, 2002; ISBN: 952-5339-13-0).

9 comments:

  1. Wow this is great, didn't know the Futuro before but it looks awesome! I love architecture and especially things like these :)

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  2. amazing stuff, i want to know so much more. will have to search for the dvd

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  3. i've been in one! well...kinda. At a museum in the states however it was much more ghetto and metallic than these ones

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  4. Seriously awesome! Makes me think of Clockwork Orange how it's so seventies which marks it's futuristic approach so nostalgic..interesting!

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  5. I cannot tell you how much I love this! Its so 2001: Space Odyssey/ Barbarella... and yes, I have noticed a recent trend towards 60's nostalgia. Thank god for that x

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  6. Perfect... My Future home

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  7. haha! these are amazing.

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  8. anybody want to get together to rebuilt one using modern material? The contemporary Futuro 2?

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