Architecture, News I 02.08.17 I by

Sci-fi tiny homes land in Marseille

Plastic experiments from the 1960s and 70s

A collection of sci-fi cabins has touched down in Marseille for a new exhibition, Utopie Plastic.

The futuristic yet retro tiny homes sit within the French city’s Friche de L’Escalette sculpture park. Among them are three original designs dating back to 1960s and 70s, including Hexacube, La Bulle Six Coques and Futuro House.

Hexacube tiny home
Hexacube (1972), designed by Georges Candilis and Anja Blomstedt. Photography: Christian Baraja / courtesy of Friche de l’Escalette

George Candilis and Anja Blomstedt’s plastic-shelled Hexacube was constructed in 1972, and designed to function as a seaside set of ‘space cells’ for the Languedoc-Roussillon bathing resort. Each Hexacube could be placed separately, or joined together to form a colony.

Hexacube tiny home
Hexacube (1972), designed by Georges Candilis and Anja Blomstedt. Photography: Christian Baraja / courtesy of Friche de l’Escalette

Original Hexacubes are hard to find these days, with less than 30 of them ever put into production. Friche de L’Escalette’s red, white and orange cabin was acquired from one of Candilis’ former collaborators.

Bulle Six Coques tiny home
The Bulle Six Coques (1968), designed by Jean-Benjamin Maneval. Photography: Christian Baraja / courtesy of Friche de l’Escalette

Another early example of micro architecture comes in the form of Jean-Benjamin Maneval’s flower-shaped Bulle Six Coques cabin, which made its debut in 1968.

Originally created as an easy-to-assemble modular habitat, Maneval’s 36 sq m home was an early pioneer in the field of prefab housing that didn’t require foundations. The architect also designed a collection of wood and metal furniture designed to fit the Bulle’s curves. In 1980, twenty of the homes were installed in an experimental holiday village in the Hautes-Pyrénées.

Bulle Six Coques tiny home
An archive image of the Bulle Six Coques (1968) by Jean-Benjamin Maneval. Photography: ourtesy of Friche de l’Escalette

Friche de L’Escalette is showing two Bulle Six Coques cabins – one complete with its original interior, and another which will be fully restored on-site for visitors to see.

Futuro House tiny home
Futuro House (1968), designed by Matti Suuronen. Photography: Christian Baraja / courtesy of Friche de l’Escalette

The last piece included in the exhibition is Finnish architect Matti Suuronen’s Futuro House – fewer than 60 of which still exist today. Constructed in 1968, this flying saucer-style cabin sits on landing struts, and is ringed with porthole windows. A rare find – an original Futuro House went on the market for €130,000 last year – the sculpture park’s model was rescued from Majorca, where it had been dumped in a wood.

Futuro House tiny home
Futuro House (1968), designed by Matti Suuronen. Photography: Christian Baraja / courtesy of Friche de l’Escalette

In line with the retro sci-fi theme, the exhibition is also showing prototypes of iconic plastic furniture by the likes of Maurice Calka and Philippe Starck, which will be displayed inside the houses.

Utopie Plastic is open, via appointment, until 1 October 2017.

Tiny homes
Installation view of the Utopie Plastic exhibition in Friche de L’Escalette sculpture park. Photography: Christian Baraja / courtesy of Friche de l’Escalette

Read next: The 10 best tiny homes you can buy for under €100k

Emma is an editor and writer who contributes to Dezeen, Grafik and Creative Review

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