Why Space: 1999 is Still Retro Cool

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People sometimes dismiss Space: 1999 as a fatally kitschy space adventure, full of unconvincing aliens and wah-wah guitar histrionics. But many of the design elements of Space: 1999 still look incredibly cool today. Like the above lamp, the Sorella Lamp created by Studio Tecnico Harvey, which is now considered a prime example of 1970s retro design awesomeness — to the point where it's gone back into production recently for the first time since 1980.

There are plenty of other examples of little 1960s and 1970s design touches in the sets and furnishings of Space: 1999 that now look amazingly cool in retrospect — there's a whole fansite devoted to cataloguing the awesome furniture of Moonbase Alpha. The woman who runs that site, Catherine Bujold, has converted her own home into a replica of Moonbase Alpha, complete with shiny white walls, sleek surfaces and shiny stark furnishings.

As designer Keith Wilson said in a 1996 interview:

My original concept for Space was to take out as much colour as possible. It was a clinical, controlled environment, so no colour. That was why it was all cream and beige, so that when you went onto a planet surface, I could do what I liked with colour. And looking at the show again, it worked. It really did.


And then there's the Eagle Transporter, one of the most distinctive, coolest looking spacecraft the world has ever seen, complete with that pointy front section and those four boxy protrustions over the landing pads. It's got its own Facebook fan page, tons of model building projects, and a fan forum. It looks absolutely nothing like any other spaceship you've ever seen.

And that's really just scratching the surface. Space: 1999 may have fallen short in its attempts to recapture the magic of 2001: A Space Odyssey (as Stanley Kubrick, at least, believed). But at the very least, it did create its own uniquely clean-looking, unmistakable sense of style, and its own aesthetic. Moonbase Alpha always seemed like one of the coolest spaces in space.