My Name Is Legion wrote:
Well, I suppose there is a difference between "futuristic" as an esthetic and "plausible as a technologically advanced future." I think that Forbidden Planet looks more futuristic than the Nostromo in Alien, but it does not look as real...and both are dated.
I think the problem in this discussion is the ambiguity of the word "futuristic". After all, none of us knows for certain what the future will hold. I hew to an idea of "futuristic" that is informed by Clarke's statement that "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". In other words, the design should appear to be incapable of doing the task it does. That can mean that it can
look like something that does an everyday, common task, but just so happens to be able to do something much more. Or it can look as if it does nothing and does a lot. Or something in between. To me, vagueness of purpose gives the thing added shelf life because it will be less likely that the present will catch up with what it is shown doing. If we say a communicator operates on radio frequencies and is limited to a 15,000 mile range, we may be in great shape in 1966 but in trouble ten years later. So we don't say.
If a design fails to look ergonomic or otherwise functional by contemporary standards, the question is, is it plausible that in the future those standards will change or no longer matter? If that's the case, varying such a design feature could give something greater plausibility, not less.
Frank Lloyd Wright consciously ignored ergonomics in some of his designs in favor of the look of the thing. I understand that would be impractical in the case of a military command center unless, as I wrote above, the standards of what is considered ergonomic change. Certainly the standards my grandfather sitting at an oak desk and chair in 1920 would consider comfortable would be very different from those of me in a zero gravity chair and Ergotron tower workstation. And presumably mine will be different from my grandson eighty years hence.