The Futuro was borne into an optimistic era, where the drawbacks of reliance on petrochemical products and their impact on the environment hadn’t yet been felt.
The world already having had the Monsanto house to dream on, reality came a step closer In 1971 when the Internationale Kunststoffhaus Ausstellung der Welt opened. This “Plastic House Exhibition” was held in the German town of Lüdenscheid and showcased a large number of housing units including the Futuro House.
Photo © WAZ
The Futuro’s own worldwide popularity was due initially to it being exhibited in London in 1968 as part of the FinnFocus fair, where it was displayed alongside other Finnish products of the time including Marimekko fabrics and Iittala ceramics and glassware - bold modern mass produced products of a new modern era.
Most cutting edge architectural discourse during the 60’s was centered around unbuildable projects such as Cedric Price’s Fun Palace (1961). Developed in association with theatrical director Joan Littlewood it was never built, its ideas of flexible space was a great influence on other architects at the time.
Similarly, the group of architects Archigram proposed audacious concepts such as Plug in City, The Walking City, and Instant City. Rife with idealogical concepts as well as spatial ones, pragmatically they embraced both utopian and dystopian outlooks on the future wellbeing of mankind and foresaw many innovations we take for granted today such as digital connectivity, or the network.
Whilst some were rendering big ideas in complex ways, others were creating popular culture that in essence said exactly everything you needed to know about it in one swoop. Warhol, Litchenstein, Oldenburg and all the other great Pop artists understood the power of an iconic form delivered in a clear manner.
Photo Andy Warhol Campbells Soup Cans 1962
Finnish design had also obviously caught wind of this pop focus, as bourne by the iconic design of Eero Arnio’s Pastil chair of 1967.
Taken to one extreme, the Danish designer Verner Panton created in 1970 his Visiona 2 domestic environment, a radical vision of the future that used extremes of colour and organic form to reflect the informal and relaxed attitudes and lifestyles of the time.
In the fields of design and architecture was an ongoing emphasis was placed on integration of living requirements. Italian designer Joe Columbo made many iconic stand alone objects but also spent much of his short career focusing on 'Total Furnishing Units', such as the one pictured in 1968.