The door of the airship is open. The passengers seem to have just left, curtains still moving in the wind. A sense of Da Vinci-like proportions, with wings that move like a bird. Cockpits worked out in detail with control cables, connecting the rudders via ingenious levers. A launcher on top of an abandoned dome, there is dust on the spiral staircase, but the plane can still take off…

 

Artist Jeroen van Kesteren has found forgotten dreams and adventures from a future long past and brought them together in The Orphanage for Lost Adventures; a collection of beautiful and intricate 19th century fantasy aircrafts and airships. Now abandoned and forgotten they once gave exciting glimpses of a bright future full of adventure and technical wonder, a time in which nothing seemed impossible.

 

Each object tells his own story and invites you to step inside a forgotten world from an industrial Victorian era, in which van Kesteren’s love for everything with rivets in it, is inextricably linked to perfectionist enthusiasm. The various contraptions in his series Orphanage for Lost Adventures reflect the nostalgic relics of the neo-Victorian movement and feature retro-futuristic technologies found in the literary works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne.

 

Every aspect of the aircraft is carefully crafted and uniquely imaginative. You wouldn’t tell, but the miniature models are produced from paper, cardboard, aluminum foil, and adhesives. From the tiny holes on the wings to the various spokes, pipes, and ladders: the delicate material transforms to robust wing fins, steam engines and skin plates. “Each object in The Orphanage was once thought to work in real life”, says van Kesteren. So mechanics must be correct in these machines and contraptions. Including the keel of the airship to let it steer tighter into the wind. He immediately puts his ideas into practice. No complicated preliminary studies, no technical drawings. The result is free-flow perfection and serene beauty. When complete, they stand about 40 to 50 centimeter high, or just slightly over a foot tall.