“We’re in this glass and brass go-go cage dance party to the stars. Going up, I want to hear hypo-allergenic Telestar music, untouched by human hands. Anything computer-generated and played on a Moog synthesizer. I want to dance the frug on a TWA commuter flight go-go dance party to the moon where cool dudes and chicks do the mash potato under zero gravity and eat delicious snack pills. I want this.” – Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters
I have a problem, a fetish, an obsession really. One that goes well beyond my typically GenX compulsive attraction to 60s/70s hyper-kitsch. I just have this thing for retro-futurism. Specifically, 21st century lifestyle by way of 1960s speculation as aesthetic. Straight up fucking Jetsons shit; but sexy Jetsons if that makes any sense. I know that totally doesn’t; I don’t care.
So, like, I sigh audibly when I stumble across images of the Futuro Houses, a Finnish-designed miniature home originally issued in 1968 and designed specifically for vacation lodging. In the interest of full disclosure I also have a thing for, like, campers and other compact-designed lodging, so this just hits all sort of buttons. It’s just so impossibly perfect and orderly.
This shag carpet and tasteful art deco space future was alas not in the cards. Shortly after mass-production began, the oil embargo (and subsequent increase in the cost of plastic and polyester) instantly tripled the cost of the home, driving away customers. Fewer than 100 were purchased, most of which are currently in various states of tastefully dystopian decrepitude.
Whether relegated to roadside attraction, novelty diner, or hobby projects for the similarly obsessed (some are currently for sale!), they still capture the imagination. Even abandoned they remain in dignified tribute; a wistful milestone marker for when the future went from being a exciting colorful adventure to a grimly bleak eventuality.