Retro Futurism

Retro Futurism refers to the creative trend from the 1940s-1960s that depicted the future. It “explores themes of tension between past and future, and between the alienating and empowering effects of technology” (Raduta). During this time, the US was in the Atomic Age, where thoughts of nuclear war took over American Citizens concerns and daily lives. Out of this cultural change came changes to architecture, industrial design, commercial design interior design and fine arts.

The Theme Building at Los Angeles International Airport

This aesthetic is the combination of two major trends. The first is that retro futurism is inspired by the imagined future of artists, writers and filmmakers during this time. The second trend is the inverse of the first which took the appeal of old cultural artifacts and mixed it in with futuristic styles, “creating a mélange of past, present, and future elements” (retrofuturism).

Retrofuturistic Advertisements: Selling a Brighter Tomorrow

Art, literature and design in this era drew from factories, buildings and cities of the machine age while industrial design during this time was largely focused on solid colors, slick shapes and large scales.

Retro Futurism was basically an entire culture. It took over fashion, cars, anticipations of the future, industrial, interior and commercial design. From the outlandish and outrageous cars, far out fashion and sleek industrial design, Retro Futurism was all about a new perspective on the future.

Panasonic Orbital TR-005 “Flying Saucer”
Haysville Community Development Building in Kansas

I find this type of aesthetic interesting because of how different the architecture was from the time and how we see lots of the retro futuristic styles still around today when we look at modern houses. I also find the commercial design fun and colorful even though lots of the ads and posters from that time had a pessimistic view of the world due to the concerns of nuclear war.

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