Dreamed up by architect and urban design theorist Jean Maneval and presented in theoretical model to France's Salon Des Arts Ménagers in 1956, the Maison Bulle à Six Coques (which literally translates to "Six-Shell Bubble House") could be called ahead of its time, if not for its futuristic, Jetsons-like appeal, then for the fact that it came years before diminutive prefab homes really caught on. The first one wasn't built until 1964, and it wasn't until 1968 that French plastics company Batiplastique put them into production, but even then Maneval only sold about 30 of them, most to an experimental resort in the Pyrenees. Nearly half a century later, the ones that are still standing aren't looking so hot.
The prefabricated shells were made of reinforced polyester insulated with polyurethane foam in white, brown, and green, designed to be easily transported by truck and set up on small platforms. Hook up your amenities and toss in a few throw pillows and you're good to go, or so the reasoning went. In 2012, one Bubble House was recreated for the International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC) in Paris, and a few of the originals are still standing in their Pyrenean home, a little worse for the wear, but still striking as a kind of smaller take on Disneyland's Monsanto House of the Future. And hey, if a 50th anniversary did this much for the New York Worlds Fair, maybe 1968 will see the revival of this one-time house of the future.