May 03, 2016
“Creative use of space” has always been at the core of the MINI brand. Now, with the “MINI LIVING” installation, MINI is demonstrating during the Salone del Mobile 2016 in Milan how this principle can also be applied to urban living space. MINI LIVING addresses one of the most pressing challenges of urban living – the shortage of attractive, affordable housing – and offers a potential solution in the form of a modern shared-living concept. “MINI has always been a quintessentially urban brand, a brand for the city, and this is also where a lot of our customers live,” says Esther Bahne, Head of Brand Strategy and Business Innovation at MINI. “We have to take a holistic approach to the city and think about solutions that are relevant to the needs of the people who live there. This is what the MINI LIVING installation is all about.”
Sharing means more for everybody.
The installation centres on a 30-square-metre apartment that forms part of a micro-neighbourhood of similar apartments (the other apartments are only suggested in the installation). Fold-out shelving modules form the apartment’s walls. Integrated in these modules are a variety of features and systems such as a kitchen unit, a workbench and a music system. The shelves can be opened out to give access to the various objects and functions. By opening out different shelves, the apartment’s interior space can be combined and reconfigured in many different ways, providing the appropriate backdrop for all sorts of spontaneous activities and unique experiences. Folding out the kitchenette and a music system for example creates the perfect set up for a spur-of-the-moment kitchen party. MINI LIVING turns “sharing” into an adventure in its own right. Occupants who make their individual living space and functions sharable with the wider community can quite literally “open up” to interaction and experiences that would not be possible in a conventional private space. “With the MINI LIVING installation, we’re looking to be part of a debate about future forms of shared living. In the city, more and more people have to share space which is increasingly scarce and finite. We see a lot of potential in this situation for making urban living more communal and reciprocal. The installation combines both sides of the equation within a compact footprint – it is both a haven of privacy and also an interface to the wider community,” says MINI LIVING project manager Oke Hauser.
Privacy vs. community.
As a closed space, MINI LIVING provides its occupants with all the security of living in their own four walls. But since those walls are flexible, the installation blurs the normal boundaries between the private and the communal. When and to what extent occupants actually want to share their space and time with the community around them is entirely up to them. However, as the overall motto of the MINI LIVING installation, “Do Disturb”, already implies, this concept has been designed specifically to encourage interaction and to provide an alternative to urban anonymity. Visitors can experiment with the flexible elements of the installation to discover for themselves all the different possibilities that are achievable in the spectrum between an “open” and a “closed” living space.
Shared knowledge – the cooperative concept behind MINI LIVING.
At the MINI LIVING concept and design stage, MINI was already able to put into practice the central principle behind this installation – that “sharing means more for everyone”. In giving shape to its vision of future urban living, MINI sought the support of two partners who enriched this project with their many years of experience and their own perspective on the topic of urban living. The Japanese architects from ON design in Yokohama contributed their expertise from a variety of projects relating to micro-housing and collaborative living, while the Berlin office of international engineering consultancy Arup provided support on the technical side. Through this shared approach, MINI LIVING has delivered a cutting-edge interpretation of a vision of urban habitation that none of the participants would have achieved on their own.
MINI – helping to define urban living.
MINI LIVING takes to the next logical stage what was always the mission behind the MINI brand right from day one: the mission to improve the quality of urban life. Back in 1959, MINI already offered a clever solution to one of the most relevant problems of that time, by offering urban mobility at an affordable price. The solution took the form of a vehicle that combined high functionality and maximum driving excitement with minimal road space requirements. Even back then, by offering “creative use of space”, MINI proved that even a small car can be extremely exciting. And over the generations that followed it continued to set the agenda for personalised urban mobility. Today, finding attractive, affordable living space is one of the biggest challenges of urban life, and not only for young people and families just starting out in life. Here too, the answer lies in creative use of space. MINI LIVING applies the brand’s essence to further areas of urban life unconnected with the automobile. Again, the accent is on squeezing maximum potential from the smallest possible physical footprint.