Space Age and Retro-Futurism: Bridging Time and Space

by @industrialkonzept Team

Cover image: Futuro House by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen, installed at the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 2011. © Vincent van der Heijden / Flickr

The Space Age style is making an impressive comeback, bringing retro-futurism back into the limelight of the design world in a striking way. This aesthetic, which emerged in the mid-20th century during the height of the space race, captures the optimism and fascination with space travel of that time.

Insight into Modernism

The aesthetics of the Space Age are firmly rooted in Modernism. This broader movement aimed to break away from traditional design norms and pursue a forward-looking, functional, and rational approach to creativity. In this context, Modernism provided a philosophical foundation that celebrated progress, innovation, and the exploration of new frontiers - both in space and in design.

Ball Chair

Ball Chair, 1963. Designed by Eero Aarnio. © Eero Aarnio Originals

Pioneers of the Space Age and Retro-Futurism

Architects and designers of the Space Age era, such as Eero Saarinen, Joe Colombo, and Buckminster Fuller, were heavily influenced by modernist principles. Their creations were characterized by novelty, efficiency, and a departure from traditionally ornamented styles. Other notable examples include Eero Aarnio's Ball Chair or Matti Suuronen’s Futuro House – a prefabricated house in the shape of a flying saucer, of which fewer than 100 were made.

Matti Suuronen's Futuro House

Futuro House by Matti Suuronen. © Gili Merin

Matti Suuronen's Futuro House

Futuro House by Matti Suuronen. © Gili Merin

Matti Suuronen's Futuro House

Inside a Futuro House by Matti Suuronen. © Gili Merin

Space Age in Contemporary Design

Today, the Space Age aesthetic is often integrated into contemporary design, incorporating modern principles. An example of this is the Ego Hair Salon in Beijing, designed by IS Architecture and Design. This project is characterized by curved arches and nostalgic furniture, transferring the Space Age aesthetic into modern design.

Ego Hair Salon

Ego Hair Salon, Beijing, 2021. Designed by IS Architecture and Design. © Shawn Koh.


The revival of the Space Age and retro-futurism in design reflects a continued fascination with the interface between past and future. It recalls a time when boundaries were crossed and new horizons conquered, and continues to inspire a new generation of designers and architects.


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