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Matti Suuronen

Helsinki, Finland
1 of 3Inhabitat

Matti Suuronen (June 14, 1933 – April 16, 2013) was a Finnish architect and designer who is best known for designing the Futuro and Venturo homes in the Casa Finlandia series. The marvelous design of the Futuro went into production in both Finland and worldwide under license in various colors, upholstery, and number of seats and rooms. Suuronen is also internationally known for designing buildings, which made the novel use of materials such as polyester resin, fiberglass, and acrylic windows. Apart from the Futuro and Venturo homes, Suuronen additionally designed several buildings such as apartments, detached and terraced homes, offices, kiosks, petrol stations, and public and industrial buildings. Suuronen's designs have been installed around the world, including such locations as the Centraal Museum in Utrecht.

In 1965 Suuronen was asked by his former schoolmate, Dr. Jaakko Hiidenkari, to design a ski cabin that would be “quick to heat and easy to construct in rough terrain.” The project was called the After-Ski cabin. Having already been familiar with the use of fiberglass-reinforced polyester plastic in the past, Suuronen used this material in his project to produce the cabin. In addition, the house would consist of 16 pieces that were to be bolted together to form the floor, roof, and shape of the house. This would allow the project to be assembled on site or even be airlifted in one piece by helicopter on site. The ultimately ellipsoidal building shell was based on the decision for a mathematically determinable shape with optimal volume. The contract for constructing it was ultimately awarded to Polykem Ltd., a company that specializes in the manufacturing of plastic and neon signs, following a competitive offer to whomever would built the cabin. The end result was a universally transportable home that had the ability to be mass replicated and situated in almost any environment.

The first ever mass-produced home by Suuronen was Futuro no. 001, which was owned by Finnish actor and screenwriter Matti Kuusla and formerly located in Hirvensalmi, Finland. However, the installation of the house on the wooded shore of Lake Puulavesi caused a local outcry. Nevertheless, the house would make an international breakthrough in October 1968 when the third Futuro (no. 002) was displayed at the Finnfocus 68 fair in London. When it came to London, the Daily Mail wrote: "This object, looking like everyone else's idea of a flying saucer from outer space, is the Finnish idea of the perfect weekend cottage."

Helsinki, Finland
ziggurat, August 14th, 2019