26 January 2012

Car-, kitchen-, house-of-the-future

1956. How does the future look like? I just realized that, in the same year (a coincidence?), two great previsions about the future of mankind were produced, namely a short musical titled Design for Dreaming and the Smithsons' House of the Future.

On the occasion of the 1956 General Motors Motorama, held in New York and other four American cities, new car prototypes (by Corvette, Cadillac, Pontiac etc.) and a high-tech, automatic kitchen were featured in an odd musical. The dancer Tad Tadlock wants to escape from her bored life and is able to join a mysterious and handsome masked man, who takes her to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel to see the show. After having a look at the car models on display, she returns home to her kitchen of the future and bakes a cake, before rejoining her man on a drive on the "road of tomorrow". The film is as odd as funny, with a couple of memorable quotes, and I couldn't resist doing some comparisons with nowaday's China:

Man: "Girls don't go to motoramas, dressed in a pair of pink pajamas!" It is far too easy to imagine some people you meet in the older quarters in Shanghai dressed in their pajamas going to a car show!

Woman: "I'm a girl who happens to think that a brand new car is better than a mink." In a Chinese dating game show in 2010, a 22-year-old girl named Ma Nuo stated: "I'd rather sit and cry in the back of a BMW" than laughing on a bike!

Coming now to somehow less pop territories, in the very same year, Alison and Peter Smithson built their House of the Future, at the Ideal Home Show, a "one-bedroom townhouse with garden", made mainly of plastic with radiant heating in the floors, full of electronic gadgets.

Image via worksdifferent.wordpress.com

Photo by John McCann

View from patio to kitchen. Photo by John McCann

Dressing room. Photo by Daily Mail

View across living room. Photo by John R. Pantlin

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