Star Trek was not only future-oriented in terms of content, as the series with the spaceship Enterprise already showed a diverse cast when racial laws were still in force in America.

Since the 1960s, Star Trek has shown a knack for forward-looking design visions.

Anyone who thinks that the “Mad Men” series, created in the New York PR milieu, canonized midcentury modernism in film history is wrong – the Star Trek universe had had an eye for futuristic design long before that.

Star Trek also depicts a design universe

When the series started, the setting was pragmatic: because there was little budget for self-construction, the set designers made do with what was on the market. And inspired by the achievements of space travel, he delivered a lot that wanted to be new: from the Sculpta armchair by Vladimir Kagan to the Tulip Chair by Eero Saarinen to a lot of furniture by Pierre Paulin, even then you could see objects in the interior of the spaceship that that are now classics. Star Trek also sort of depicts a design universe, and if that universe had anything to do with it, Pierre Paulin would be the brightest star.

In their recently published book Star Trek: Designing the Final Frontier: How Mid-Century Modernism Shaped Our View of the Future, photographer Dan Chavkin and Brian McGuire set out how groundbreaking the set design in particular was.

They tell how the daring of the new science fiction series and the budget restrictions have created a futuristic design culture that is also carried over into the later series and show the history of individual objects that were often purchased directly from the manufactories.

The result is an aesthetic that moves between pragmatic form and colorful fantasy worlds.

After all, the design cult of the original series can also be felt in the subsequent series.

If you still saw contemporary designers with Captain Kirk on the Enterprise, after the success of the original series the design universe has also expanded with the budget.

Captain Picard and Captain Janeway, in particular, show themselves to be connoisseurs of Bauhaus functionalism on their spaceships.

They outfit the rooms not only with Lilly Reich and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, but also with more recent icons such as Charlotte Perriand, Eileen Gray, Joe Colombo and Le Corbusier.

Both are known as gourmets for their selected table settings - while Kirk was satisfied with thermos flasks, Picard and Janeway sometimes have accessories from Wagenknecht and luxury products from Christofle and Sasaki.

Occasionally, however, there are also mass productions such as Alessi's cupola cafetière, Tapio Wirkkala's Ultima Thule glass for Iittala or the tea cups by Carl Jorgensen for Bodum, which have meanwhile been taken out of production.

Design classics can also be seen outside of the ships, such as the somewhat more amorphous Ekstrem Chair on the planet Ocampo, which stands out from the pragmatism of the ships.

So what is carried on is always a balanced mixture of high design culture, high-quality mass products and cheap productions, for example from Ikea, such as the “Micke” table model, which was only recently seen in the more recent episodes of

Discovery

. And in addition to the classics, the current series continue to canonize contemporary designers such as Patricia Urquiola, and in the "Picard" series released in 2020, with the rainbow vase from Fundamental.Berlin, a young German label even features prominently on the captain's desk.

You won't find the pop-futurism you might have expected, with lava lamps and inflatable chairs by Quasar Khanh, but perhaps that too will show up at some point in the series' design universe.

What Star Trek shows as the

final frontier

of future-oriented designs is something that has already established itself in fashion: a mixture of mass, brand and unique, and of functionality and selective playfulness.

In addition to Instagram, it might also be worth taking a look at the stars for the next interior inspiration.

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