It Doesn't Have To Be Right…

… it just has to sound plausible


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The future we used to have, part 22

There’s nothing new in imagining what the future might look like, and science fiction is far from the only artform with a monopoly on doing so. However, as the future becomes the present, so does our imagined future become part of our past. And here are a few illustrations of that process…

Houses of the future

The House of the Future by Peter and Alison Smithson, Daily Mail Ideal Home Show 1956

The House of the Future by Peter and Alison Smithson, Daily Mail Ideal Home Show 1956

The House of the Future by Peter and Alison Smithson, Daily Mail Ideal Home Show 1956

The House of the Future by Peter and Alison Smithson, Daily Mail Ideal Home Show 1956

The House of the Future by Peter and Alison Smithson, Daily Mail Ideal Home Show 1956

The House of the Future by Peter and Alison Smithson, Daily Mail Ideal Home Show 1956

The House of the Future by Peter and Alison Smithson, Daily Mail Ideal Home Show 1956

The House of the Future by Peter and Alison Smithson, Daily Mail Ideal Home Show 1956

The House of the Future by Peter and Alison Smithson, Daily Mail Ideal Home Show 1956

The House of the Future by Peter and Alison Smithson, Daily Mail Ideal Home Show 1956

The House of the Future by Peter and Alison Smithson, Daily Mail Ideal Home Show 1956

The House of the Future by Peter and Alison Smithson, Daily Mail Ideal Home Show 1956

Frigidaire Kitchen of the future, 1956 Motorama

Frigidaire Kitchen of the Future, 1956 Motorama

Clothes of the future

Pierre Cardin with his models, late 1960s

Pierre Cardin with his models, late 1960s

Advert for a tuxedo rental company - wtf?

Advert for a tuxedo rental company – wtf?

Bubble hats for Braniff Airline, Emilio Pucci

Bubble hats for Braniff International Airways, Emilio Pucci

Cabin crew uniforms for Braniff airline, Emilio Pucci

Cabin crew uniforms for Braniff International Airways, Emilio Pucci

Beach cape, Fontana Sisters

Beach cape, Fontana Sisters

Gilet, Pierre Cardin

Gilet, Pierre Cardin

Giant computer brains

22_IBM-System-360-Model-67-Mainframe

IBM 360 Model 67

The office of the future

The office of the future

Univac 9400

Univac 9400

IBM 360

IBM 360

Early HSBC mainframe

Early HSBC mainframe

Bell Labs, 1960

Bell Labs, 1960


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The future we used to have, part 12

We lost a bit of the future we used to have only a couple of days ago, when Neil Armstrong died following heart surgery. The US space programme of the 1950s and 1960s has always fascinated me because of its optimism for the future. It gave us “Space Age” as a term of approval, and I for one mourn the Space Age we nearly had within our grasp. Here are some photographs to remind us of lost times…

space

British Aerospace HOTOL

NASA space ferry concept

Nuclear-powered ferry to the Moon (from Look and Learn)

Von Braun design for a lunar lander

Cabin detail from von Braun lunar lander

NASA Moon colony, with LRV in foreground

roads

Ford FX Atmos concept car, 1954

Bubble cars

Still the best-looking car ever, the Lamborghini Marzal

Lamborghini Marzal – so futuristic, you have to wear a spacesuit to drive it

Ferrari 512 S Speciale, by Pininfarina

Ferrari 512 S Speciale – could only be driven by people without heads

fashion

When you wake up in the future, this is what the nurses will look like (Pierre Cardin)

In the future, everyone will wear a bucket on their head because of climate change (Pierre Cardin)

What to wear when the sea levels rise (Nina Ricci)

Even on the Moon, they will need to keep their beer cold (Paco Raban, I think; and Frigidaire)

For when astronauts go hungry (Paco Raban again, I think)

Neil Armstrong can rest easy, knowing the Moon will be kept clean


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the future we used to have, part 9

I want a time machine so I can go back to the 1960s and then go forward to the future they thought they were going to have. You know, the one with moon bases, jumpsuits, jetpacks, foodpills; where capitalism actually worked and everyone was happy and prosperous; and the only thing spoiling the clear blue skies were the sonic booms of supersonic bombers and airliners crossing the Atlantic in two hours…

Until someone actually invents that time machine, feast your eyes on these:

Aeroplanes

Convair XB-46

Artwork of the Convair XB-42

Convair XB-43 (a jet-powered version of the XB-42)

Buildings

Kamzík TV Tower, Bratislava

Kamzík TV Tower, Bratislava

Slovak Broadcast Building, Bratislava

The Memorial and Museum of the Slovak National Uprising, Bratislava

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Niterói (Oscar Niemeyer)

Liberty Pantheon, Brasilia (Oscar Niemeyer)

Fashion

In the future, everyone will wear beige (Space: 1999)

In the future, everyone will wear string vests (UFO)

In the future, everyone will dress like humbugs (Pierre Cardin)

In the future, everyone will wear black– no, wait… (Raumpatrouille Orion)

In the future, everyone will wear high-heeled waders (Pierre Cardin)


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The future we used to have, part 8

There’s an unfortunate tendency for these retro-futurist posts to go all a bit boys-toys-ish. That’s understandable, given that Cold War supersonic fighters and bombers did, well, did look pretty cool. Likewise the cars. And, sadly, hunt for contemporary fashion photos and it’s almost impossible to find ones depicting men in space age outfits – it’s all women. Even the sales photographs for the giant computer brains generally have women posed as if operating them.

Anyway, this time around there are… planes, cars, some house interiors, and some fashion. A few of the fashion photos show designs by Pierre Cardin, who probably deserves a post all his own…

Aircraft

Avrocar

A proposal to turn the Concord into a supersonic bomber

Saunders Roe Sr.53 rocket- and jet-propelled interceptor

How the crew entered the Tupolev Tu-22 Blinder supersonic bomber

The observer's cockpit in the De Havilland Sea Vixen

The cockpit of the Boeing Stratocruiser airliner

A proposed supersonic bomber based on the Bell X-3, from the cover-art to Secret Aerospace Projects of the US Navy by Jared A Zichek

Cars and Trucks

The cars of tomorrow

Cadillac Cyclone concept car from 1959

General Motors Firebird III from 1959

Chevrolet concept truck by Luigi Colani

Dodge Deora from 1967

And this is how you got into the Dodge Deora

Fashion

Space age hats. I think.

Pierre Cardin fashion

More Pierre Cardin fashion

And yet more Pierre Cardin fashion

Emilio Pucci-designed bubble hats for Braniff Airlines

Interiors and Appliances

A space age computer

The tap is a real retro design but the ad is, I think, a spoof

A retro-futurist television

Many of you will probably recognise where this is

Party house!

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