Events, Quirky, Design

MINI LIVING concept unveiled at the 'Salone del Mobile'

MINI is demonstrating ‘creative use of space’ during the Salone del Mobile 2016 in Milan.

Showing how the founding principle of the small car can also be applied to urban living space, the “MINI LIVING” installation, 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 LIVING takes to the next logical stage what was always the mission behind the MINI brand right from day one: 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.

“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.”

The installation centres on a 30-square-metre apartment that forms part of a micro-neighbourhood of similar apartments. Fold-out shelving modules form the apartment’s walls, and integrated in these modules are a variety of features and systems such as a kitchen unit, a workbench and a music system. 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.

Occupants of this design study can make their individual living space and functions sharable with the wider community, and 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,” added MINI LIVING project manager Oke Hauser.

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. 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.

In giving shape to its vision of future urban living, MINI sought the support of two partners for this project - 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. 

Visitors can experience the MINI LIVING installation from April 12 to April 17, 2016 at 18 Via Vigevano, Milan, Italy during the Salone del Mobile.