Imagine stepping inside a flying saucer. Now imagine living in one! In 1968, in light of the postwar boost in technology and space exploration, Finnish designer Matti Suuronen designed the Futuro House. Originally meant to be a modular ski-cabin that could be assembled and disassembled in rough terrain, the round home became an iconic piece of futuristic design. This particular space-age Home has had quite the tune-up, and it recently landed in the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam.
The Futuro prefab stands 10 feet high, is 26 feet in diameter, and comes complete with an airplane hatch entrance. Suuronen chose a round design not only for its strength, but also for its ability to feel spacious while keeping material use to a minimum. The walls are made of fiberglass-reinforced polyester plastic, a new lightweight material that made the home both easily transportable and well-insulated. The interior houses up to 8 adults and includes a living room, kitchen, bathroom, fireplace, and bed chairs.
Mobile living seemed like the new possibility for the future. People could take their moveable home wherever they went, and live like modern nomads. However the oil crisis in 1972, production of the Futuro home was shut down as plastic prices nearly tripled. About 100 models were built and only half are estimated to survive today. Though tracking down the private owners of these space houses may prove a bit difficult, one Futuro home is readily available for rent in Wisconsin!
In 2010, Finnish conservator Anna-Maija Kuitunen wrote a thesis on how to repair the damage of the oldest Futuro model, including never-before-seen images of the house’s interior. After an extensive two-year restoration project, the Futuro prototype is now being exhibited for the first time in decades at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.
Futuro no. 001 is the centerpiece of an exhibition called Futuro — Constructing Utopia, which will focus on the search for the perfectly constructed form. The show includes over 100 cultural pieces from the museum’s permanent collection, from Durer and Bruegel prints to modern fiberglass furniture and recently acquired contemporary art. Though Futuro is certainly the largest piece in the gallery, it is also widely considered one of the best examples of perfect form in design history.
The exhibition will be on display until October 2011.