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Luxembourg - Tomorrow now!

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TOMORROW NOW - when design meets science fiction
From May 25 to September 24 2007

The MUDAM (MUsée D'Art Moderne - Museum of Modern Art) is currently showing a really fascinating exhibition on the relationship between design and sci-fi: 'Although a primordial source of inspiration for the cinema, the visual arts and architecture, science fiction’s closest links are, however, to design.'



"Futuro-the house of tomorrow", a standardized plastic house by finnish architect Matti Suuronen, looking like a flying saucer in the grand hall of MUDAM

3 periods stand out from the encounters design-sci-fi. The first is linked to anticipation and innovation in the case of the Luxemburger Hugo Gernsback who in 1929 invented the term “science fiction” and published cheap magazines that popularised the subject. There was also the Universal Exhibition in New York in 1939 in which designers who traditionally envisaged the production of industrial objects seized on that of private, public and urban spaces, of which the Futurama is incontestably the most surprising and premonitory example. Science fiction and design worked together to show how technology can be put to the service of mankind.

a collection of 'Science Wonder Stories' magazine, created 1929 by Gernsback, for which he invented the term 'science-fiction', in which he imagined future inventions, from teledoctoring at distance to cryogenic freezers and flying cars

An automated bra opener... how positively useful



'Predictions-the vertical time axis' : The Evolutionary Tree of Charles Jencks in 'Architecture 2000' from 1969
Then there is the Futurama, GM's huge propagandistic tool for the 1939 World Fair, where the public was shown a preview of the future of urbanism and city transportation, complete with the automated farms of the countryside of tomorrow...
'Parallel Universe' by John McCracken, sort of a landing strip for aliens, or a homage to Stanley Kubrick

'R&Sie - Parallel Worlds': the Hypnotic cabinet, a sort of worm hole travelling possibility


The second conjunction between sci-fi and design takes on impressive proportions in the post-war period when the two universes became the subject of an energy and a jubilation combined with the dream of space conquest in the process of being made concrete. The eventual discovery of new intergalactic territories which is counterbalanced by the stress placed on interior worlds, subjugates designers. They were inspired by the imaginary aspect of science fiction, creating a myriad of capsule-like forms and borrowing from it the fictional mode which, when diverted, validates technology or denounces it.

The Archigram prophecies of the golden age of design
The computer of the future; with the woman of the 70s, in an absolutely perfect ABBA make-over

The french TV of the future, 1957, by Charbonneau

Another TV from 1969 in beautiful plastic


'Finally, along with investigations based on a conception of linear time, we find a third bridge between design and science fiction which, this time, offers a vertical temporal axis. This challenge to Cartesian logic rests on the postulate of the existence of a fourth dimension, that of time, which, when associated with the other three dimensions, becomes a gateway to a parallel world. Breaches in space-time may be found through these “wormholes”, teleportation doors and other black holes. Neither anticipation nor prediction nor retro-futur e, these parallel worlds are juxtaposed with present reality.'

Another room filled with weirdness

I'm not sure on how this cubic version of the Popemobile fits into this scheme, but it sure looks great

The Oneness aliens of Mariko Mori



Loungers in the fooding section ready for some nocturne music

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2 Responses to “Luxembourg - Tomorrow now!”

  1. # Anonymous Anonymous

    The pictures are an excellent depiction of my experience of the light in Mudam. The exterior of the building is an architectural wonder connecting the ruins of a burg and stone and glass of present.
    Toronto Canada  

  2. # Blogger Cedric

    True thing, Toronto! It took quite some time for the museum to be constructed, so the planing had enough time to get a certain someting of instant perfection! The light is fascinating indeed, you can go there on a rainy day, but the halls will still be clearly lit. I can*t wait for the surrounding sculpture gardens to be opened this year!  

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    I am Cedric, discoverer of things that would go unnoticed in the streets of Paris, historic haven of fashionistas and city of lights ('lights' as in 'enlightenment', not street lights).
    But seriously: I'm an expat from Luxembourg (the country, not the garden), living in the center of Paris (hence 'Paris 2nd arrondissement'), and currenlty studying architectural history...


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