Anyone who’s seen the iconic Theme Building at the at the LA International Airport is well-acquainted with the campy allure of retro futurism. In the ’60s and ’70s, futuristic architecture was all about jets, Space Age and flying saucers, even when designing for buildings as mundane as diners and motels. Ironically, those buildings now are steeped in nostalgia–it’s always fun to see visions of the future through the lens of the past.
For brilliant example of that particular aesthetic, look no further than the roof of the Central Saint Martins campus in London, where a refurbished spaceship-like pod called the Futuro House has just landed. Over the next year, the turquoise fiberglass structure–designed by Finnish architect Marri Suuronen in the 1960s and recently restored by artist Craig Barnes–will be open up to the public for performances, talks and events.
When Suuronen designed the Futuro House in 1968, it was originally conceived as a mountainside cottage ideal for its simple transport, with low maintenance needs and sloped sides that could shed snow easily. Fifteen years later, long after they’d fallen out of fashion, Barnes saw the futuristic structure as a three-year-old while on a family vacation in South Africa. Captivated at first sight, Barnes never stopped dreaming of owning one, and in 2013 finally got his chance. Only 60 of the original structures still exist today.
“I didn’t have a screwdriver to my name,” Barnes writes on the Futuro House site where he documented the restoration process. Over 10 months, he transformed it from a “weary wreck, showing signs of it being a 42-year-old building that has sat in the blazing African sun for all its life, into a shiny smooth object, ready to face the next 40 years.”
Now Barnes’ Futuro House has new windows, fresh upholstery and a glossy shine (thanks to automotive spray paint), but there’s still an unmistakeable ’60s vibe, right down to the mustard colored lounge seats that line the interior. Retro futurism never looked better.
At its temporary home at the CMS as a part of The Intelligent Optimist exhibition, visitors can tour the house for £3 a piece on the first Wednesday of every month. According to the CMS website, event space is also for hire, as long as “future-thinking” is on the agenda.
[via the Guardian]