At Boijmans: Futuro

As I mentioned in my post on George Condo (genius or disturbed?), I had gone to Boijmans to see something completely different when I got waylaid by the Master of Weird.

And this is what I went there to see:

Futuro by Matti Suuronen

The Futuro by Matti Suuronen

Ta-dah! The Futuro at the Boijmans!

This is the 1968 prototype for the Futuro holiday home designed by Matti Suuronen, a Finnish architect. An ellipsoid, 8 meters in diameter with a floor area of 25 square meters, the Futuro is made from two layers of glass-reinforced polyester plastic with a substantial thickness of insulating polyurethane foam between the layers. The floor is a plywood-metal construction covered with a vinyl carpet and the windows are Perspex. The whole thing rests on a tubular steel ring. (Want to know more? Download Futuro no. 001 : Documentation and evaluation of preservation need, a 2010 B.A. thesis by Anna-Maija Kuitunen, a student at the Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences… her paper has lots of illustrations.)

In 1998, Mika Taanila and Marko Home made Futuro – A New Stance for Tomorrow, a documentary film where they interviewed many of the people involved in the project, from the architect and manufacturer to some of the owners. Watching the documentary at Boijmans, I was astonished to find out that the Futuro was first marketed at the Stockmann Department Store in the centre of Helsinki. If only my parents had taken me to Helsinki to see it installed on the large sales floor at the fanciest department store in the land!

Time has not been kind to the Futuro. While it is quite impressive from the outside, there is a distinct whiff of mold inside and the once futuristic fittings and molded furniture simply look uncomfortable and slightly depressing. “The future ain’t what it used to be.”

In this video, Jonieke van Es, Head of Collections & Research at Boijmans explains how the Futuro ended up in Rotterdam, the restoration process and the plans for its future.

Is there a Futuro near you? Check the World Architecture map.