Image credit Lotte Stekelenburg, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
The Futuro, designed by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen in 1964, was a technological and design tour de force, built in an optimistic era when Bucky Fuller, Archigram and Joe Columbo were trying to reinvent how we thought about housing. Now it has landed in Rotterdam at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen; Alice Rawsthorn of the International Herald Tribune visits.
He knew exactly what he wanted. A mobile holiday home designed for ski trips in remote places, which would be tough enough to survive sub-zero temperatures and snowstorms at high altitude. It had to be quick and easy to put up -- and take down -- in deep snow on rough mountainous terrain, and light enough to be flown there by helicopter. And the cheaper it was, the better.
Made from light plastic, it was designed for mass production as a kit of prefabricated parts that could be assembled wherever its occupants wished in the shape of an ellipsoid, a complex geometric form that looks like a flying saucer in a 1960s comic book.
Alice Rawsthorn is, in my opinion, one of the best writers about design and architecture around today. Other stories of hers that I have covered in TreeHugger:
Alice Rawsthorn on the Best Designed Products of the Year
The Chair That Has Seated Millions
Humanitarian Design Isn't The New Imperialism, It's The New Compassion
Matti Suuronen also designed the Venturo, a bit less extreme. Alas, building out of plastic got really expensive during the 1973 oil crisis and the company went out of business.
Plastics were all the rage in the 60's; Joe Columbo designed this amazing Total furnishing unit.
But nothing tops the Monsanto House of the Future, designed before they got evil.