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How we saw the future

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Imagination is key to engineering.

Picturing a bridge crossing a gorge or a tower scraping the clouds, and then striving to make these visions a reality, has been key to pushing engineering (and society) forward throughout the years.

But, have certain periods been better or worse for conceptual engineering and imagination?

Arguably the most fruitful period of ‘Imagineering’ was the late-1950s through to the early-1970s which saw the development and peak of a movement that became known as retrofuturism.

The retrofuturist movement saw designers unleash their imaginations and create concepts that defied budgets (and very often physics) yet which looked spectacular and inspiring.

The retrofuturist movement provided a glimpse of a bold, optimistic future where the concerns of the present day would be abolished.

Given the current economic climate and the dramatic fluctuations in the Oil & Gas market, do we need a fresh dose of retrofuturism to reignite our imaginations and provide fresh solutions to engineering challenges?

We’ve selected some of the most inspiring and captivating examples of this unique movement below. Do we need more imagination in engineering to inspire greater innovation? Or is this merely a distraction from more practical, everyday solutions? Take a look and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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