Back to the future: Restoration project sees first Futuro house returned to its original sci-fi glory

Futuro 001 ExteriorThe very first Futuro home has been put on display at the WeeGee Exhibition Centre in Finland, its country of birth, following a painstaking restoration project which has seen the iconic home returned to its original glory.

Designed by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen in 1968, the Futuro looks as striking today as it did 40 years ago. Named the perfect bachelor “Playhouse” by Playboy in 1970, it’s surely more attractive to sci-fi and design geeks today.

The result of a project to build a convenient, versatile ski lodge that wouldn’t be difficult to heat, Futuro number 001 was owned by Finnish actor Matti Kuusla, and it stood on the edge of a lake in southern Finland from 1968 until 2011, when the Espoo City Museum acquired it for restoration.

As with many other 1950s and 1960s designs, it’s unashamedly “futuristic,” with its elliptical shape and oval windows recalling classic visions of flying saucers. Between 60 and 100 Futuro houses were built, but it wasn’t meant to be such a rarity, as there were hopes it would become a mass market hit. The early 70s oil crisis raised the price of plastic — from which it’s made — drastically, and it became too expensive to produce and sell at a reasonable price.

Following the restoration of its glass-fiber reinforced polyester shell, Futuro 001 was transported in pieces — just like it was designed to be — to the exhibition center, where it was reassembled and work could begin on the interior.

A Facebook page details what followed, and gives us a glimpse of what it would have been like to purchase and build a Futuro home all those years ago.

Futuro 001 Interior

Walking up the drop-down steps takes you into the circular main living area, where a series of reclining chairs surround the central fireplace, and small doors or stairways take you to the bathroom, sleeping quarters and kitchenette. A reporter from The Guardian described it as a “totally artificial environment” and a “plastic womb.”

The futuristic design will always split opinion, with some loving its now retro look and others considering it a plastic monstrosity. It could also easily be from the set of any seminal 70s sci-fi, such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange or even Space 1999.

Originally sold in both Finland and America, the Futuro would have cost around $15,000 when it was new, which is the equivalent of just under $100,000 today, but a recent auction at Christie’s in Paris saw an unrestored example sell for $180,000.

Ikea, from Finland’s Nordic neighbor Sweden, recently announced the Aktiv, a “flat-pack” home costing $86,000, which could be seen as the modern — though considerably less appealing design-wise — equivalent to the Futuro.

Several Futuro homes remain in use throughout America too, and a 2005 feature in The New York Times covered one being used as a home theater in Illinois, the owner of which curates a website dedicated to discovering other Futuro homes around the world. Rather fittingly, the site was clearly made in the early days of the Internet, and encapsulates the same “futuristic” style as the Futuro itself.

Futuro number 001 went on display at the WeeGee Exhibition Centre on May 8, where it will remain until September 16, making up part of Helsinki’s celebrations as Design Capital 2012.

Product Review

You don't need Alexa in your microwave, but you'd be surprised what she can do

Amazon has added to its long portfolio of products with the AmazonBasics Microwave, a small appliance that works with Alexa. We took the microwave for a test drive to find out more.
Gaming

Feeling nostalgic? Here are the 25 best Sega Genesis games

Although the company has since fallen into obscurity, Sega was an indisputable titan throughout the '90s. That said, here are 25 best Sega Genesis games that helped define its fabled decade.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in November, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Dracula’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Deals

Here are the best Amazon Echo and Google Home deals for Black Friday

Google Home and Amazon Echo smart speakers compete head to head when it comes to smart home tech. Whether you're a fan of Alexa or Google Home, we've found the best prices on your favorite smart home devices.
Smart Home

Wynd’s new air-purifying bundle lets smart home owners breathe easier

Wynd is already well known in the tech industry for its popular Kickstarter-backed air purifier and now the company is launching two new products designed to improve air quality to inform smart home owners.
Smart Home

Google Assistant adds smart home bells and whistles in time for the holidays

Just in time for the holidays, Google Assistant is introducing a bunch of new smart home features, including the ability to reply to broadcast messages, create and use cookbooks, and access enhanced storybook content for kids.
Smart Home

Brew it fast, hot, and flavorful with our favorite coffee makers

Whether you're looking for a simple coffee maker to get you through the morning or a high-end brewer that will impress your taste buds and your friends, you'll find some of the best coffee makers around on this list.
Emerging Tech

These Alexa-stuffed retro phones don’t listen until you take them off the hook

Looking for an Amazon Echo with a cool vintage touch? Los Angeles-based Grain Design is taking old, non-working antique phones and transforming them into amazing Alexa smart speakers.
Smart Home

This alarm clock uses targeted light and sound to wake you, but not your partner

The Wake v2 isn't like your typical bedside alarm. Instead, it wakes you by shining a soft light directly into your face, thereby not disturbing the person sharing a bed with you. Pretty smart, huh?
Deals

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…
News

Xfinity indoor/outdoor camera zooms in on Grinch’s faces and license plates

Comcast's Xfinity Home security cameras can help the police catch Grinches who steal delivery packages from your home. The cameras use artificial intelligence to analyze moving objects and zoom in on faces at your door and license plates.
Smart Home

Airbnb hosts are offering free rooms to those displaced by California wildfires

Several thousand Airbnb hosts in California are opening their homes to help those displaced by the devastating wildfires in the state. Free accommodation is being offered to those affected through November 29.