Day 15. Space Age Utopia in Tapiola

A stroll by the sea into Tapiola and a visit to the WeeGee Exhibition Centre which includes four museums, a cafe and museum shop.  Entrance is €12 but is free each Friday between 5.00 pm and 7.00 p.m.  The WeeGee building was constructed in the 1960’s for the Finnish printing company Weilin and Göös as their new print works, now owned by Espoo City Council it has been a museum and exhibition centre since late 2005.

WeeGee Centre,Tapiola
From the above photo you can see the original logo above the door of the Weilin and Göös company.   Top of our list of things to see here was a visit into the woodland garden to explore the Futuro House (feature photo above).  This yellow,  plastic house was originally designed as a ski lodge in 1968.  The house hit the headlines both in Finland and overseas but was thought too peculiar and expensive to go into mass production.  Today around 65 space age Futuro houses remain in various corners of the world.

Interior of Futura House
Climbing inside there are seats and pull out beds with a central barbecue / grill area.  Off to one side is a kitchen corner and small bathroom and everything is made out of plastic and there is even a smell of it in the air.  Although the museum is open throughout the year,  if you are interested in taking a look inside the Futuro House, this is only open between May and September.

Glass blowing in Espoo City Museum
On the ground floor of WeeGee you will find  Espoo City Museum which showcases Espoo’s history with a splendid exhibition entitled ‘A trip through time’ starting from the Stone Age hunter gatherers and bringing visitors up-to-date with the city’s ultra modern technology centres.  A temporary exhibition ‘A Time for Glass’ (from 15/6/2016 – 3/9/2017) introduces visitors to the history and production of the Kaukalahti Glassworks in Espoo with stories of it’s workers and their daily routines.  There’s also a display of the beautiful glassware produced there with hands on glass painting activities for children.

Being photographed behind a watch face in the museum

Also located on the ground floor is the Finnish Museum of Horology (Clock Museum) which is dedicated to timepieces and the history of measuring time.  The museum’s collections have their origins in 1944 when the Finnish School of Watchmaking was founded.

Tall Clocks, Finnish Museum of Horology
Included in the exhibition are are all types of clocks and watches and we were interested to inspect the internal workings of the old clock from Helsinki’s Central Railway Station.  Currently, there’s a temporary exhibition on Japan and you can stand behind a screen to be photographed on a digital watch face.

Toys from the 1800’s
Still more to see upstairs with a visit to the Finnish Toy Museum which showcases toys through the ages.  A temporary exhibition on circus life is ongoing with memorabilia, dressing up clothes and props such as juggling balls.  Having visited the Children’s Museum in Edinburgh, I adored glancing at the collection of old toys here as well and reminiscing of what we played with as children and we were both enthralled by the large model railway as visitors can press buttons to operate the trains themselves – we are all still children at heart!

EMMA, WeeGee Centre
Last but not least here at WeeGee is EMMA – the Espoo Museum of Modern Art.  This 5,000 square metre exhibition space is the largest of any museum in Finland and displays contemporary art from both Finland and overseas.

After looking in all these interesting museums it was time for a sit down and a cup of tea in the attractive museum cafe.  To get to WeeGee from Helsinki take a bus from Kamppi and from next year you will be able to arrive by metro when the Lansimetro line opens.

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32 thoughts on “Day 15. Space Age Utopia in Tapiola

  1. Pingback: Feeling nostalgic at the Ilkley Toy Museum  – Love Travelling

  2. Pingback: Day 2.  Exploring London’s East End – Love Travelling

  3. This sounds like so much fun! I really like the Futuro House. It somehow reminds me of Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion House, which is on exhibit at the Ford Museum in Michigan. Like the Futuro House, it was never commercially successful, but it had a space-age futuristic feel. (Here’s a link to the museum’s website about the Dymaxion House: https://www.thehenryford.org/visit/henry-ford-museum/exhibits/dymaxion-house/. It even takes you on a virtual tour!)

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    1. Thanks so much Susan for sending me the link to the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan – the ‘house’ there does have similarities to Futuro and I loved reading about its existence. Interestingly, another of my readers commented that they had seen the exterior of a Futuro house in Ohio, so the few that were made certainly got around!!

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  4. Another great post from Finland. Thanks. I would’ve thought more Futuro houses were still extant. I’ve seen a number of them scattered over the U.S., including one not far from where I grew in Ohio. BUT, I’d never seen inside one. That’s a treat. Thanks again.

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  5. Oh I’m glad you visited the Futuro house. I wouldn’t say I really like it but it is quite extraordinary isn’t it! Imagine how people thought it would be a good summer cottage back in the day? Before the materials became too expensive!! Give me an old fashioned mökki anytime over this 😀

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    1. It’s certainly futuristic but give me a log cabin any day ! It’s such a good idea in Finland to house several museums under one roof, that way smaller collections can be visited that visitors might not bother going to if they were in stand alone buildings.

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    1. I don’t know why other countries don’t follow the idea of housing several museums under one roof with a combined entrance ticket. It works so well as we probably wouldn’t have paid to go in the Museum of Horology but as it was included, we did and it was interesting and definitely worth visiting. More visitors would come through the doors and overheads should be lower if they followed this example. As for Futuro house – it was so much fun to climb inside and take a peek around.

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  6. Good Morning.

    How glad I am that You found Futuro house. Because I am senior citizen, I have seen one live many years ago in Joroinen nearly at the same place where I presented totally crocheted tractor. At those days we had them “here and there”. Did You know that in Paris, there is also Futuro house and I have photos from it:

    I visited a “UFO”.

    Those tall clocks we call them Könninkello which are part of our tradition and they are yet today made on courses. In winter, we have huge amount of courses in adult education colleges and these places are where courses are made.

    Thank You again for this very interesting post.

    Happy new week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Matti, It was indeed very interesting to visit the Futuro House and in fact all the other small museums based at WeeGee. It’s a good idea to house several museums in the same building, we don’t do that in the UK but it encourages people to visit small collections on the same visit as, for instance, visiting Futuro. Have a good week Matti – it will seem strange not having any Olympic Games coverage to enjoy after two fun filled weeks! Marion.

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