Future Systems are the natural successors of the sixties theoretical architectural movement Archigram. They have actually built more stuff than the Archigram architects, but there are an awful lot of unbuilt projects here.
Rather oddly the book is split into sections on
The number of built projects varies wildly between categories, no completed skyscrapers, to quite a few completed items of kitchenware for Alessi. This is frustrating, their built projects, with their wealth of detail, are infinitely more interesting than the sketches and montages of unbuilt projects. They are responsible for a handful of iconic buildings, the Lord's Media centre, that looks like a Braun radio, the Birmingham Selfridges that looks like a blobby alien spaceship, it is a shame that there are not more.
The writing is similarly odd, Deyan is a major figure in architectural criticism, he has also written on John Pawson the minimalist. He provides a very readable and matey account of the practice, with plentiful quotes from the partners. He lets drop that he lived in a space ship like Future Systems design for three years, and personally asked them to contribute to a Venice Biennale.
As befits such an unusual practice, the book does reinvent books, it has a silver reflective cover, with no title, the title is instead on the edge of the pages. Certainly striking but the cover does get scratched very easily which takes away slightly from the overall effect.
This book is brim full of ideas, stunning images and is written in an easy and compelling style. It is a mystery exactly how they pay the bills with so few completed projects, but the world is a better place for them and this book.