Futuro - Constructing Utopia

Matti Suuronen, Futuro, 1968, prototype, polyester and various materials

Press release
21 May - 9 October 2011

Following a thorough restoration, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is exhibiting one of its most recent acquisitions: a mobile holiday home by the Finnish architect Matti Suuronen. The so-called Futuro (1968) is on display from the spring together with other objects from the collection.

The UFO-like Futuro will land in the museum’s large Bodon gallery amid twenty prints and approximately a hundred items of design and applied arts from the collection’s entire time span. The exhibition includes prints by Albrecht Dürer and Pieter Bruegel as well modern design icons such as the famous fibreglass chair by the American designers Charles and Ray Eames and a wearable radio in the form of a bangle. The display also includes several new acquisitions and pieces of contemporary art. The theme of the exhibition is the search for the perfectly constructed form.

The Futuro initially had a purely architectural aim. In 1965 Matti Suuronen was asked to design a ski cabin that could be quickly heated and easily constructed in rough, impassable terrain. Suuronen opted for the ellipsoid (a three-dimensional ellipse) as the basic form because of its optimal durability. According to the architect, this elliptical form gives an optimum sense of space with minimal use of materials combined with the ultimate beauty. With a diameter of 8 meters and an internal area of 140m3, the Futuro can house eight people. The prefabricated interior consists of a living room, two bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. The demountable holiday home made from light plastic was suitable for mass production and reflected the belief in technology and faith in prosperity in the 1960s. Over the decades the Futuro has changed from a feat of engineering to a cultural icon.

The common thread in the exhibition is the age-old quest for the perfect form. The search for the ideal proportions – based on mathematics and geometry – is evident in the objects in the exhibition. For example, the form of the Futuro is based on the golden section and the core of the sixteenth-century Nautilus goblet consists of the shell of the Nautilus pompilius: a perfect example of logarithmic proportions in nature. The spherical vase by Copier and the model of the futuristic recumbent bicycle from 1987 reflect the concept of a functionally and aesthetically perfect form, which has fascinated many thinkers and makers throughout the ages.

The Collection Enriched
From April Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is showing The Collection Enriched. These new displays of the permanent collection showcase the museum's masterpieces of European painting together with several loans from other museums. The acquisition of the Futuro represents another enrichment of the collection.
The acquisition and restoration of the prototype of the Futuro has been made possible by the BankGiro Loterij. The BankGiro Loterij is once again supporting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen over the next five years.