In the seventies there was a tendency to imagine a portable house, like a shell, light and transportable, like the Ugoomosphere of Ugo La Pietra or the transparent inflatable office of the Austrian Hans Hollein. Decades before the mobility of young people of “Generation Rent”, these architects have imagined a nomadic life by choice thanks to technology, using then new materials such as perspex and polycarbonates for furniture and structures.

The Florentine design group Superstudio , legendary pioneers, in the early seventies had imagined the world covered by a “universal network”, which would bring electricity and energy everywhere, allowing people to go where they wanted to become nomads sophisticated by choice.

“Design coincides more and more with existence”, wrote Adolfo Natalini of Superstudio at the time, imagining a “world without products and without waste” and “a homogeneous land through a network of energy and information that becomes the natural support of a new and improved life “. A world wide web ante litteram, then, but also an ideal of non-consumer life, lived freely and without the imprisonment of a single place or the limitations related to the possession of objects and furniture.

ART 21 December 2018
Thomas Gainsborough, family portraits
In line with this visionary idealism Enzo Mari with Self-planning, in 1974, he creates a guide to self-sufficiency, teaching how to create all the necessary furniture and objects in a simplified form using only simple materials, hammer and nails. A “democratization” of design that anticipates the goals of Ikea, sponsor of the exhibition.

Already in 1958 French director Jacques Tati had mocked the unrestrained consumerism and the craze of modernism at all costs in his film Mon Oncle, winner of the Oscar in 1958. The model of Villa Arpel, the supermodernist house, is on display and ultra-geometric film, impersonal and unlivable, where every noisy gadget and object aimed at simplifying life actually makes it impossible.

The Telematic House of Ugo La Pietra, in 1982, is a house in which the TV screens are integrated into every object and in every piece of furniture, anticipating the omnipresence of the screens in contemporary life and also the controversy over the lack of privacy.

ART December 14, 2018
Impressionists compared
Some forecasts have proved to be completely accurate, such as the need to use every square inch of a house to the maximum, anticipating the “microliving” of today’s overcrowded cities with ergonomic designs and imaginative solutions.

In the projects of the time the dining table emerges rising from the floor. The mobile kitchen moves on four wheels. Ettore Sottsass imagines bathroom and shower furniture, a modular system that frees the home from consumer goods and makes every object multifunctional.