UPDATED 030417 | ADDED 071413 | LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM | HOME | LOCATIONS - LIST - PREVIOUS - NEXT
Previously located at 22 High St, Port Alfred, South Africa | Moved June 2013
And then located at 42-44 Copperfield Road, E3 4RR London, United Kingdom | Moved July/August 2015
Previously located at 22 High St, Port Alfred, South Africa | Moved June 2013
And then located at 42-44 Copperfield Road, E3 4RR London, United Kingdom | Moved July/August 2015
1 Granary Square, King's Cross, London N1C 4AA, United Kingdom | 51°32'10.69N 0°7'27.63W | Panorama Courtesy Of Craig Barnes & The FuturoHouse.co.uk
Featured Image Courtesy Of Craig Barnes | Image Date 090215
Google Maps | Satellite Imagery Date 060315 [Futuro Not Yet On Site]
Notes, History & Resources
Came across these two "videos" on Youtube recently. They appear to be static 360° images uploaded in a video format; perhaps a function of how the images were captured. The "videos" are titled Futuro 360 Interior and Futuro Hallway 360 respectively.
Craig Barnes completed his restoration of "Futuro 22" some time ago but he only recently completed editing video footage that documents the project. This footage was posted to Youtube today in two parts and it provides a fascinating look at the long and complicated process of restoring a Futuro. The videos, titled "Futuro House 22: Restoration Process Parts 1 & 2", are embedded below and can be found on Youtube here and here.
Craig also recently completed the restoration of a set of vintage Arkana mushroom chairs for the Futuro. As can be seen in the photo below the style of these chairs seems very appropriate for their use in a Futuro. The original photo can be found on the FuturoHouse.co.uk Facebook page here].
Finally Craig also posted two other previously unpublished videos to Youtube today. The first titled "Futuro House 22 Landing #2: Matt's Gallery, London October 2014", gives us a great look at "Futuro 22" as it was when it first arrived at Matt's Gallery in 2014 and the second, "Futuro House 22: Deconstruction, March 2015", documents its later disassembly and removal from that location in 2015.
Craig - as always my thanks for your continuing to share your Futuro journey.
These photos show "Futuro 22" in Port Alfred in December 1997. The photos, one exterior shot and one interior shot, were posted to Facebook by Purdey Mouton in response to a post Craig Barnes made seeking information about the history of "Futuro 22". Thanks for sharing them Purdey.
Purdey's original photos can be found on Facebook here and here.
Futuro House recently added this great time-lapse video to YouTube. The video chronicles the re-assembly of Futuro 22 at its new home, the third floor terrace of the University of the Arts London's Central St Martins' building, between 101615 and 101915.
The move and re-assembly of "Futuro 22" is now complete. The additional photos below are from FuturoHouse.co.uk Facebook Page. My thanks to Craig for continuing to share his Futuro journey.
The following four photos show Futuro 22 in its new home on the third floor terrace of the University of the Arts London's Central St Martins' building.
The first three photos are courtesy of Craig over on the FuturoHouse.co.uk Facebook Page. Two show the disassembled Futuro while the third shows the assembled unit. The final photo is from a KingsCross.co.uk webcam [select Central] showing the assembled Futuro on 082115.
The photos below, courtesy of Craig Barnes [futurohouse.co.uk] showcase the completed Futuro. In addition the clearly different looking color of the Futuro from one shot to another is an interesting example of how light conditions, weather and perhaps camera settings can change the appearance of the subject of a photograph.
Last week we saw how Futuro 22 had been transported to London's East End and assembled on the roof of Matt's Gallery. Over the following couple of days work moved to the interior of the Futuro and the additional photographs below, courtesy of Craig Barnes Facebook Page, include two that show the interior and one new exterior shot; note the reflections on the exterior surface indicating what a superb finish the unit has been given.
In addition there are a couple of shots, courtesy of the Matt's Gallery Facebook Page, which show the gallery building with the Futuro on the roof that provide a great perspective.
This series of photographs shows some of what has taken place to take a dissembled Futuro 22 from a barn in Herefordshire to a fully assembled Futuro Shell on a London rooftop. The photographs are displayed courtesy of Craig Barnes and Matt's Gallery.
And finally a rather cool drawing of Matt's Gallery with the Futuro 22 proudly sitting on the roof!
This series of photos are courtesy of Craig Barnes and Matt's Gallery and document the first stages of the Futuro 22 restoration project. These photos and the short notes that accompany them provide just a taste of what is involved; for much more detail, additional photos and a real feel for what the restoration process really looks like you should check out the Futuro 22 Restoration Diary.
Close up surface detail of one of the upper panels of the Futuro showing the condition prior to cleaning.
"Before and after" cleaning; the two panels seen to the left have not yet undergone the cleaning process.
Panels after being sanded with an orbital sander to remove the top layer of degraded gel coat.
Panel after a second round of sanding using a sharper sanding pad.
After sanding the extent of degraded areas of the surfaces that would need attention becomes apparent.
Some panels are more degraded than others; the panel in the center has very little original gel coat remaining.
Panels getting close to being ready for primer and hardener after several rounds of sanding, filler being applied to cleaned damaged areas and then more sanding.
A break from the "hard labor"; a specially formulated gel coat matched to the original color for historical accuracy is tested by being applied to the untreated chimney cowl.
And finally for today a new photo of Futuro 22 as it was in South Africa. The photo below was taken by Aschlee Olwage circa 2001 when she lived in the Futuro and was added to Craig Barnes' Futuro 22 Restoration Diary recently. My thanks to Aschlee for sending the photo to Craig and to Craig for allowing me to share.
After purchasing Futuro 22 [Futuro 22? See right] in 2013 the unit has since been disassembled and shipped to the UK. Craig Barnes is now about to embark on the not insignificant task of restoring his Futuro. This week Craig's excellent website futurohouse.co.uk was activated and there he is planning on documenting Futuro 22's history, present and future.
Craig has published a series of videos on YouTube and many photos on futurohouse.co.uk that show us detail of the exterior and interior of the unit prior to its disassembly in South Africa, record the process of disassembly and chronicle the arrival of the unit in the UK.
The videos are embedded below and many of the images from futurohouse.co.uk are also displayed here. I strongly encourage you to visit Craig's site though; in particular each of the photos has a short description attached to it on Craig's site which explains the image and often adds important context to what you are seeing [the links above each set of photos will take you directly to the appropriate page on Craig's website].
My thanks to Craig for allowing me to display his images here and for documenting his Futuro project as he is; it is interesting to follow this restoration alongside that of the Canberra University Futuro.
Futuro 22 Exterior
Futuro 22 Interior
Futuro 22 Disassembly
Futuro 22 Arrival
Original Images & Videos 071413
[Update 021314 - this image was replaced with the current one from Craig Barnes] The featured image above is courtesy of FuturoHouse.com and shows this Futuro as it was in its previous location in South Africa.
Back in 2014 Craig Barnes and "Futuro 22" featured on UK TV in Season 4 Episode 2 of the TV series George Clark's Amazing Spaces. On 042216 Season 6 Episode 1 of the show aired in the UK and "Futuro 22" was again featured.
Interestingly this episode of the show aired as "George Clark's Amazing Treehouses" but despite the title "Futuro 22" along with owner Craig featured in a five minute spot in the show. The inclusion of the Futuro in a show about treehouses is explained as being an possible answer for someone who is in the city without a tree in sight but still wants a structure "up in the sky". The footage included shots of the Futuro from back in its time in South Africa through restoration all the way up to its time at Matt's Gallery along with conversation with Craig.
For those of you in the UK the episode can be streamed online but only until 052216. Streaming the episode from the Channel 4 site is blocked outside the UK. There are certainly ways to view it though; anyone outside the UK with access to a UK based VPN should be able to stream it and the episode can be found in various places on the web but if you do want to watch it and you are located outside the UK you will have to figure out how for yourself.
"Futuro 22" owner Craig Barnes recently started to research the history of his Futuro. A post to the Herald Port Elizabeth newspaper's Facebook Page has generated a great many responses. Among them were a couple of photos posted by Purdey Mouton which can be found at left and some interesting historical information regarding South African Futuros from Bryan Erasmus, more on that can be found on the "Lost Souls" page.
"Futuro 22" continues to generate a great deal of interest and publicity; rightfully so in my opinion given the great restoration job completed by Craig Barnes and the fact that the unit is bringing Futuro to a new audience in London.
This time around the Hesingin Sanomat website published two articles featuring "Futuro 22" on 012216. There was also a full page article in that day's print copy of the newspaper [in the Culture section] which I will hopefully be adding to my collection of "Things Futuro" shortly. The two online articles can be found here and here.
This Futuro is now "officially" open for tours. On owner Craig Barnes' Futuro House UK Facebook page we find the following post:
"Roll up roll up tickets now available for public tours of the Futuro on the first Wednesday's of each month, alternating between 1pm and 6pm from the Platform Theatre box office."
So, if you live in the area or are visiting and would like the chance to visit a nicely resotred Futuro this is your chance! Tickets can be purchased here.
The Futuro is now officially "open for business" according to the UAL [University Of The Arts London Central Saint Martins] website and is available for bookings for events by students and staff and also for "relevant" commercial event bookings. The intention is that the Futuro House is used in the spirit of the project that the artist Craig Barnes, who has loaned the Futuro to UAL initiated. Specifically UAL proposes that:
"every event at the Futuro House, however small, should contribute a view, challenge, or propose alternative interpretations to what the idea of the future might hold. The future need not be the dominant theme of every activity, but it is hoped that [the organizer] should at least consider [their] contribution to future-thinking as part of the event, and leave a trace of this futural speculation."
Personally I think trying to "direct" the use of the Futuro in this way is great and not only matches the spirit of Craig's purchase and restoration of the Futuro but also the "spirit" of what Futuro itself was all about.
It seems that the Camden Council were forthcoming with planning permission since Futuro 22 has now been moved from 42-44 Copperfield Road, E3 4RR [51°31'9.81N 0°2'9.08W] a few miles across London to a new home on the third floor terrace of the University of the Arts London's Central St Martins' building.
The photos at left, three courtesy of Craig over on the FuturoHouse.co.uk Facebook Page and one from a KingsCross.co.uk webcam [select Central], show us that as of 082115 the Futuro has been reassembled at this new location. Though it is not possible based on the photos to see how the inside looks the windows are still covered and it seems likely that while the majority of the work is complete there may still be a little work to do to "complete" the relocation project.
It appears plans are underway to relocate Craig Barnes' Futuro to a more permanent home. A 070715 article in the London Evening Standard titled "Rare flying saucer-shaped Futuro House may land at University of the Arts" reports that the University of the Arts London is considering providing a home for the Futuro.
A planning application has been lodged with the Camden Council which, if approved, would see the Futuro moved to the third floor terrace of the Central St Martins' building in London's King's Cross.
Edge Design Workshop, the architectural group which led the restoration of the Futuro state that:
"The Futuro will provide an additional venue for talks, discussions, lectures, exhibitions and screenings."
and the Standard adds that the Futuro could be a unique new addition to the skyline by the start of the next academic year.
UK Architecture critic Rowan Moore, named critic of the year at the UK Press Awards 2014, has recognized "Futuro House | Matt's Gallery, London" in his "Rowan Moore's top 10 exhibitions of 2014" published in The Guardian, a prestigious UK national newspaper.
A big congratulations to Craig and team.
On 103014 Craig Barnes and Futuro 22 featured on UK TV as Season 4 Episode 2 of the TV series George Clark's Amazing Spaces aired on Channel 4. The program is available "on demand" on Channel 4's website but it is not accessible here in the US; I am guessing it is only available in the UK. That said I did find it online with a little searching. Obviously, for copyright reasons, I cannot post the video here but with a little effort you should be able to find it and, if you have an interest in the Futuro, it is well worth watching.
With the restoration of Futuro 22 completed Craig has updated his website, futurohouse.co.uk, and of particular interest, to me anyway, is the page on the restoration of the Futuro that can be found here.
The Futuro will be at its current location through 121414; there is no indication of Futuro 22's next destination but you can sign up for updates on Craig's website here if you want to keep up to date with Craig's plans.
A week ago we saw Craig Barnes' Futuro 22 assembled on the roof of Matt's Gallery in the East End of London. Over the next few days the interior was fitted out and this week, courtesy of Craig Barnes Facebook Page, I have added a couple of photographs of the interior.
Personally I really like the choice of colors and as far as you can tell from photographs it looks like Craig has completed a quality refurbishment of his Futuro. There is also an additional exterior photograph which clearly illustrates the high quality finish applied to the Futuro; note the really clear reflections that can be seen on the exterior of the Futuro.
On the Matt's Gallery Facebook Page there were a couple of great shots that gave a little different perspective on the gallery building and the Futuro. Both are shots from a little distance away that provide us with an interesting "skyline" view of the gallery building with the Futuro sitting on the roof.
Craig and Futuro 22 are shortly due to make an appearance on the UK Channel 4 TV series George Clark's Amazing Spaces [Season 4 Episode 2] which will air 103014.
By curious coincidence in the same week as I received photos of the fully restored Canberra University Futuro Craig Barnes' project to restore "Futuro 22" also reached a major milestone.
Over the last week or so Futuro 22 has been moved from Herefordshire to London and the shell has been fully assembled on the roof of Matt's Gallery in East London.
The series of photographs at left shows some of what has taken place to take a disassembled Futuro 22 from a barn in Herefordshire to a fully assembled Futuro Shell on a London rooftop. The photographs are displayed courtesy of Craig Barnes and Matt's Gallery.
I have to say that the exterior finish looks awesome and I cannot wait to see the interior built out and what the fully restored unit looks like. I was not able to fit in a visit with Craig on my trip to the UK this past summer but another Europe trip is looking like it is on the cards for next year and if so a visit to see Futuro 22 will be a high priority.
In a recent update to the Futuro 22 Restoration Diary Craig Barnes posted photos and a commentary recounting the first stages of the restoration project. My thanks to Craig for allowing me to share his project here. At left are some of the photos that document this first part of the project and below is a summary of the work to date; for much more detail, additional photographs and a true feel for what is involved visit the Futuro 22 Restoration Diary.
To quote Craig from his dairy:
"As any painter will tell you, there's no point in painting until you've got your surface just right. Which is why largely the initial three months of restoration have been concentrated on making good the exterior surface of the upper sections."
Futuro 22 has spent decades in the searing sunshine of South Africa's "Sunshine Coast" and has suffered from each of the primary three ways in which GRP gel coat degrades when exposed to the elements; damage from UV exposure, dirt and chemicals getting trapped in the material due to its porosity and Osmosis which can give the surface a "pock-marked" appearance.
Clearly this damage would have to be repaired before any new coating could be applied and, just as clearly, it quickly became apparent that before the extent of damage to the surfaces could be determined a thorough cleaning to remove dirt and lichen would be necessary. It was with that process that the serious work of restoring Futuro 22 began.
The work so far can be summarized this way:
"We have about three more weeks of this work, mainly concentrated on damage around the window frame edges, the very high edges, and also the flanges that are currently on the underside. Our aim is to be in a position to apply hardener and primer by Easter. As is the way with these things, I suspect it might take slightly longer, but almost a year after we purchased the Futuro, the restoration process is most definitely underway!"
During the course of what is clearly very labor intensive work Craig did find the time to engage in an activity that was, I am sure, a little more exciting. Having considered at one time finishing the Futuro in an alternative color it was eventually determined that historical accuracy should be preserved and that the unit should be finished in the original color.
Taking the underside of the chimney cowl as the model [since it had not been exposed to the elements but was the same color as the exterior finish] a matching gel coat was produced and applied as a test to the chimney cowl. The last photo at left shows the result. I am sure Futuro 22 will look magnificent once it is complete and finished in that color.
My thanks go to Craig for allowing me to "live vicariously" and share in his "Futuro Journey." Check back here for updates but more importantly and for more detail keep an eye on Craig's Futuro 22 Restoration Diary.
The UK Futuro | Now "Futuro 22"
Owner Craig Barnes has named his unit "Futuro 22"; recognizing that the unit spent most of its life at "22" High St.
The history, move to the UK and coming restoration of Futuro 22 are being recorded online on Craig's website futurohouse.co.uk. I will continue to update here but I strongly recommend you check out his site, there will always be more detail there. Links are listed below.
As a child Craig Barnes visited South Africa with his family and saw the Futuro House in Port Alfred. Over the coming years he returned many times often dreaming of one day owning his own Futuro House.
In April 2013, in one of those stories that prove sometimes dreams do come true [hope for another "wannabee Futuro owner" maybe?], Craig found himself agreeing to buy the Futuro from the previous owner, Art du Randt.
That decision rushed him into what I can only imagine were a very frantic few days as he proceeded to figure out how to ship the unit to the UK, disassemble the Futuro ready for shipping and get it dispatched over the course of only five days. Two months later the Futuro was safely in storage in Herefordshire, UK and Craig was starting to think about the restoration of the Futuro.
The departure of the Futuro for foreign shores prompted the report shown at left in the local Port Elizabeth Herald newspaper 051113.
This week Craig launched his website futurohouse.co.uk where he provides a great deal of detail about the unit, its history, the move to the UK and his plans for the Future. He includes many photos and he has posted a series videos to YouTube; with Craig's kind permission many of these are displayed at left but I would strongly encourage you to visit Craig's site for more details and future updates.
Craig is currently considering where and how the unit will "live next". About the restoration project Craig tells us that in:
"Preserving & restoring the original fiberglass structure and interior, we plan to sympathetically embellish it with some modern conveniences which would have seemed out of this world in 1968, whilst retaining its unique atmosphere and ambience."
Craig is encouraging potential collaborators or sponsors to get involved and if you have an interest in this Craig can be contacted by email.
Craig also recounts what he knows of the history of the Futuro on his site which, as is the case with so many Futuros, is somewhat limited. It seems that a company by the name of Futuro Enterprises PTY based out of Port Elizabeth was licensed to manufacture Futuro Houses in South Africa. I can find virtually no information on this company though Hoovers does record a company by the name of Futuro Enterprises (PTY) LTD with the listed address being 79 Main Pretoria Rd, Sandton and not Port Elizabeth. Sandton is a little north of Johannesburg while Port Elizabeth is on the coast but almost certainly this is the same company [a company's registered office is often at a different location to where they operate].
There is no known record of how many units might have been manufactured in South Africa; Craig contends there was a single unit produced and I tend to agree. There is a Futuro shown in the Mika Taanila's film Futuro - A New Stance for Tomorrow; shown in the screenshot to the right. While this is clearly not the location in Port Alfred the characteristics of the unit are the same and with there being no record of another Futuro then or since it seems quite likely that the shot in the film is of the same unit prior to it arriving in Port Alfred.
Craig also mentions one other report of a Futuro in South Africa, I have come across such reports before but I never came across anything that might substantiate the reports and I never have had the time to research myself. Craig tells of a report of a:
"roadhouse in Johannesburg that burned down in the 60's, at a junction on Piering Road that still today is called Flying Saucer corner on traffic bulletins"
Other reports I have come across include:
"In ... the 60's or 70's there used to be a road house in the shape of a flying saucer, on the road from Pretoria to Kempton Park. It was close to the Waterkloof airbase and burned down somewhere in the early 70s."
"The road house was close to where the R21/N1 freeway interchange is now, in Elardus Park. Its business was cut off when the freeway to Kempton Park was built. There is a Piering Road in the area and the interchange is known as the Flying Saucer interchange or Flieende Piering.(sp?) in the traffic reports. As for the burning down, according to the old-timers who knew the place before and after the freeways were built, well, it is easier than organizing a flood ..."
Craig found the time to investigate and came across the photo at left which clearly shows that the building did indeed resemble a flying saucer but equally clearly shows it was not a Futuro.
My thanks to Craig for sharing his story and that of Futuro 22 and allowing me to share it with you here. I wish him well as he gets to grips with the restoration project and look forward to following the story as the new "life" of Futuro 22 begins to take shape.
Original Information 071413
In email correspondence over the last few days I have learned that the Futuro House previously located at 22 High St, Port Alfred, South Africa has been sold. The Futuro House has been disassembled and shipped to the United Kingdom and currently remains in storage.
I am unable to publish more detailed information at this time though I hope to be able to do so in the coming weeks. In the meantime the Featured Image at left and the embedded Google Map above show the Futuro as it was in its previous location.
As a British expat it is great to see a Futuro in the United Kingdom once more. The only other documented one, once located in Todmorden, has long since disappeared.
Original Information From The Port Alfred Page
In a January 2010 article on the website ParanormalMagazine.co.uk the owner of what is thought to be South Africa's only Futuro House is said to be considering dismantling and relocating the Futuro. Located for some 40 years close to the banks of the Kowie River in Port Alfred, South Africa the Futuro is showing its age. Owner Art du Randt is quoted as saying:
"The UFO is old and falling apart ... we must make a plan to try and save it before it is too late."
Over the years the Futuro has served a variety of purposes; its past roles have even included serving as kennel to a large dog and her brood. The owner is unsure exactly what use would be made of the Futuro after a move and restoration with ideas ranging from a kid's playroom to a novelty pub having been considered. No firm plans have been made at this time however; while du Randt is keen to restore the Futuro such a task is anything but a modest undertaking.
The ParanormalMagazine.co.uk article is dated 011910 and that is the latest confirmed date I have for this Futuro.
Latest Confirmed Date
This photograph by michellevonmandel taken 020717.
The original photograph can be seen on Instagram here.
Sources & Reference
In Print - Books & Magazines
Got new, updated or corrected information or an image I could use?
I am always looking for additional information, history, details, images, videos; just about anything Futuro I guess - if you would like to contribute please use the Contact Form or email me directly.
As far as images go I am particularly interested in those that are either significantly better than the ones already on this page or show a different aspect or detail. If you own an image meeting one or both of those criteria I would love to be able to use it on this page but I will simply provide a link if that is your preference. Where permission is granted to use an image on the page appropriate attribution will be provided by means of a link to the original image, a link to a website of your choosing or both.
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