Named after its size and compact qualities, we all know that Mini has been making the most out of space for some time now. So, what’s new with Mini, you ask? Nope, not a concept car, or a new Countryman. Instead, it seems like the automotive manufacturer took a break from building cars and is taking some time to explore green living and architecture.
The automotive company teamed up with New York based company SO-IL, to build what they call “MINI Living - Breathe”. The prototype was installed in the middle of a narrow courtyard in Italy for the duration of Milan design week, that was from 4 to 9 April 2017.
This installation, made with translucent white mesh exterior walls, is supported by a modular metal frame, and stands at four stories tall. It can accommodate up to three people and hold a total of six rooms, plus a minimalistic roof garden. This is definitely something we have not seen from Mini before.
Built at only 50 square meters of space, the MINI Living - Breathe’s slim design features spaces for comfort where you’ll find a main bedroom with a dressing area, complete with a standing shower and metal cabinet, and a hammock paired with cushions that acts as another bed. Shared activity spaces include a kitchen that occupies the ground floor, and an area furnished with gym weights. A spiral staircase is built to connect all floors. There is even a tank that collects rainwater and is directly connected to the bathroom and the kitchen to save water.
So what’s with the mesh wrapping? Yes, it may lack some privacy, but think about it, if you live in an apartment that is only a few meters away from the next apartment with windows facing one another, it is practically the same thing. You still have no privacy. But that is not the point here. And here is where the term “breathe” comes in. The mesh skin wrapping is coated with PVC and is supposed to filter and neutralize the air. The plants at the roof garden also serve the same purpose.
What’s cool about this is that the living space can be easily dismantled and reassembled anywhere you want. It’s just like a tent but it’s much more complete. The outer layer can easily be replaced with one that will work best with the climate.
According to Ilias Papageorgiou, co-director of SO-IL, this installation “brings residents into direct contact with their environment”. For Oke Hauser, creative lead of MINI Living, this creation of theirs is like an active ecosystem wherein the space contributes to those who live there and at the same time, it helps with the environment simply by using resources that are essential to life.