A Rare FUTURO Flying Saucer House Seeks an Earthling Buyer

A Rare FUTURO Flying Saucer House Seeks an Earthling Buyer

By Kathryn M.
Fewer than 100 of the prefabricated, plastic homes were reportedly manufactured—and this one remains in stellar condition.

Finnish designer Matti Suuronen's legendary FUTURO home epitomized  space-age design and 60s-era optimism when it first launched in 1968. The UFO-shaped tiny home, with its colorful plastic shell and avant-garde interior, turned heads wherever it landed and it still does today—if you're lucky enough to spot one. It's estimated that just 100 units were built around the world, many of which have since been destroyed or severely neglected. In a rare offering, one of the few remaining livable units just listed for sale in New Zealand.

This FUTURO home from the early 1970s is now up for sale in Christchurch, New Zealand. Originally used as a private residence, this particular FUTURO is a local celebrity from its more recent time on display at the local botanical gardens.

Now sitting in a storage lot, the nearly empty shell is available for local or international buyers willing to pay for relocation costs. The structure's original fiberglass-reinforced shell can be broken down into panels, shipped, and reassembled, as required by new buyers.

Suuronen's early success with the FUTURO led to global licensing deals, which is how this particular model came to appear in Christchurch, a city on the south island of New Zealand, sometime between 1972 and 1974. Just 12 units were reportedly manufactured by a local company, with only five remaining today. According to a highly informative FUTURO fan website, only a handful of other units remain across the United States, Europe, Australia, and as far away as Taiwan, South Africa, and Russia.

An original FUTURO brochure shows the Finnish prototype designed by Suuronen. The company eventually licensed the structural design to international manufacturers, most of whom modified the interior to fit the taste of local consumers.

This 1970s ad in a Delaware tourism brochure marketed the FUTURO as an adaptable holiday home. The company modified Suuronen's original floor plan to accommodate a private bedroom and open kitchen design.

The success of FUTURO, along with Suuronen's other plastic-and-fiberglass home designs, was short lived as material prices skyrocketed during the 1970s oil crisis. Ultimately, whether impractical or ahead of its time, production of the FUTURO eventually stalled and the units were cemented in time as a rare collector's item. So here's your chance to own one for yourself by purchasing this well-preserved model, which is primed and ready for a complete restoration. Hurry—bids will be accepted until December 5th.

The interior of the FUTURO currently for sale in New Zealand was gutted in 2006 and refinished for use as a portable museum with plaques describing the design concept and history. The sale includes historical documentation and some of the previously removed interior components, such as original couches, kitchen countertops, and window molds, to aid in restoration efforts.

Still intact, an original kitchen bench and built-in shelves line one side of the structure. The FUTURO manufacturer in New Zealand offered to customize each unit to fit a customer's '70s-era taste—think heavily patterned wallpaper, shag pile carpet, and colorful vinyl seating.

Offering a glimpse at other interior possibilities, Suuronen's original FUTURO prototype is on display at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

The prototype was painstakingly restored and retrofitted with interior furnishings to resemble what would have existed in Suuronen's original design.

Shown here, the first FUTURO production model (001) is on display at the WeeGee Exhibition Centre in Espoo, Finland. The original exteriors were painted in bright colors like this one.

With numerous possibilities for restoration, the FUTURO up for sale in New Zealand offers a remarkably well-preserved shell and is sure to turn heads wherever it lands next.

The "New Brighton" FUTURO  is currently for sale to the highest bidder, with offers accepted until December 5, 2020, unless sold prior. For more information, check out the official listing or property website.

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