Sunday, October 30, 2011

Gary Deirmendjian Interview - Sculpture by the Sea


A video of a friend, artist Gary Deirmenjian, being interviewed for Sydney's Daily Telegraph (click on first image):

Gary Deirmendjian, Image Esa Jaske

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Flintstones And The Jetsons Houses


The house below (the first photo) came onto market last week. Whilst the owners 
are not exactly our next door neighbours, they are just a few steps down from us 
on Grandview Drive in Sydney's Newport. A few years ago, when we drove my 
niece from Finland to our place on her arrival to Sydney, upon taking this corner 
on Grandview, she made an impromptu yell on passing it: "A Smurfs' House!".

The real estate agent selling this place claims the locals call it the "Flintstone" or 
the "Pixies'' House. Anyway, for the purpose of this post, we'll call it the 
Flintstones. It was designed by an American architect David Hollander in the late 
sixties. The link below (click on the image) is a video tour by the selling agent 
(Beaches Real Estate) describing the Newport locality, and the dwelling:

All this reminded me of the Futuro House, a futuristic plastic house designed and 
developed in Finland approximately during the same time (architect Matti 
Suuronen, manufacturer Polykem Ltd., Finland):

The time, the end of the sixties, was all about the space age: moon landing was 
just a year of two ahead, Marimekko's legendary Maija Isola was designing 
fabrics inspired by the planets, and the Soviet's Sputnik was never far away. Co-
incidentally, a similarly named official youth travel agency Sputnik in the Soviet 
Union got so excited about Futuro, they planned a whole village of futuros 
dropped off to a mountain by helicopters...

It was all about the future: plastic, sleek lines, modern people, Vuokko fashion, 
Marimekko fabrics, Saarinen furniture:


Well, one has to admit the whole concept was ahead of its time. Last week the 
2011 Rugby World Cup tournament came to an end in New Zealand (all of it 
organised as if it could have been anywhere in the world, really - not that I 
watched it anyway). However, in 1974, when they hosted the Commonwealth 
Games, I don't think New Zealand fully grasped the idea behind the latest of the 
latest: they bravely organised to have two Futuros flanking the entrance of the 
main stadium, set up by the Bank of New Zealand to be their service point for 
currency exchanges, to try to show off their credentials as being there amongst 
the progressive as the best of them, I guess:

Not good.

Slightly better.

But for the Andy Warhol/Playboy/Futurist/Hip types, it was the ultimate:

Playboy Magazine.

Andy Warhol.
A concept for a Futuro hotel.

Just under 100 of these buildings were constructed, before the shock of early 70's 
oil shortage hit the affordability of polymers. Suddenly it became too expensive 
to build these plastic structures, and sadly, the production ceased. Below are 
some of the few Futuros still in existence after forty years:

The U.S.

Books by Ridou Ridou