Design, Interiors & Lifestyle Blog
Design, Interiors & Lifestyle Blog

I have just returned from an amazing trip to Milan, with the car brand MINI. I was invited to view their MINI LIVING installation called ‘Breathe’ for Salone del Mobile 2017.

Urbanisation combined with a shortage of space for housing is fast becoming a global issue. To help address this issue, the project is exploring different concepts for shared space living, with an eye on also reducing our carbon footprint.

MINI has always had beautifully designed cars with a low carbon footprint, coming from its compact size and efficient engine. The MINI Living project is a testament to their brand value for a more ‘conscious’ way of living, whilst still embracing design. MINI LIVING was launched in 2016 under the creative direction of architect, Oke Hauser (on right).

This year the project commissioned Brooklyn based architect firm SO-IL, to help them showcase this architectural concept for future urban living. Ilias Papageorgiou (on left) represented SO-IL at the event. Here is the BREATHE installation for MINI LIVING. The theme for the build was ‘Air, Light and Water’.

The installation was pre-fabricated after design, then transported to Milan. This home ‘on the move’ could perhaps be a concept solution to the ever increasing global mobility and migration of society.

The structure comprised of a steel frame with a tough, porous white fabric, that filtered light and purified air. There were no bricks and mortar in sight.
The space is designed to be an interactive experience between the three people who would live there and with their surrounding environment.
Here is the simple but perfectly functional kitchen. The basin in the kitchen with its water sourced from the collected rainwater on the roof. The space is for three people to share.  See how the light filters through.
Does this concept challenge your view on material possessions?  Perhaps we should all be thinking of simplifying our lives with a capsule wardrobe? Bedroom number one. Here is the shower area.

This space really makes me think of how the lines between interaction and privacy becomes blurred.  It truly was a beautiful green space indoors. Here is bedroom number two which could also double up as the living room. Looks pretty cosy doesn’t it? At the top of the installation was an oasis of green. It was a communal space filled with oxygen giving plants, and a place for growing vegetables to encourage self sufficiency.

There was also a rain water collection system that channeled water into the home for usage. Alongside the MINI LIVING installation, were three other related commissions.

The first was a live creative project by Assemble, a collective of architects from London with their project called: ‘A factory as it might be’.

Assemble showcased how collaborative working could lead to the production of beautiful clay plates, using natural resources. The plates were then used at the dinner party that I attended.  Pigment dyes used to colour the clay plates. The second commission was the Conscious Café by Laila Gohar, which demonstrated how sustainable living can be a reality.

Wild mushrooms that grew indoors, later made it to our plates for dinner. The leftover fruits from harvest were dried in the sun to make fruit leathers for dessert.

The last commission was an interactive exhibition in a darkened room, playing with the elements of light, water and air by Zaven ( no photo shown here). Here is the installation by night. Doesn’t it look beautiful?

It was so wonderful to tour and experience the MINI LIVING space. It has definitely given me food for thought. Are those questions now swirling in your head too?

I was interested to read about a recent interview by MINI with Ilias Papageorgiou. He was asked whether he thought this collaboration with MINI LIVING brought the idea of sustainable communal space closer to reality.

In his answer, the designer argued that it had been an important exploration of relationships between people and between people and their environments. It was certainly a great platform for researching new ideas and this small beginning can ultimately have a large impact.

Finally, I would love to know what you think. Do you feel that there may be elements here that are a future vision of our homes? If so, what would you like to take with you?

( All photography are by Geraldine Tan, editor of Little Big Bell. This is a sponsored collaborative post with MINI, but all views and opinions are my own).

Colourful tour of Palm Springs. 

If you have been following me on Instagram, you would have seen that I was away in Palm Springs and LA over February. I love colour hunting on my travels. Palm Springs was a dream to photograph, so I thought I’d show you a colourful tour of Palm Springs.

The photo above is the Saguaro Palm Springs hotel. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that it is a colourful visual feast. Must have been so fun painting this place. I haven’t shown a photo of my bedroom here, but believe me it was all very pink. Here is an external wall of the Saguaro. The graduated pastel hues and pretty palm patterns are super cute. I just adore all the candy colours. See how the palette of pink changes to orange and then yellow.  It was so wonderful to see blue skies in February compared to the grey and cold of London then. Balloons always make things prettier don’t they? These were by Geronimo balloons. Check out those floats. I was actually in Palm Springs attending a blog conference called Alt Summit, and many of the attendees brought their floats, so that we could all take photos.

Now for a little bit of exploration outside the Saguaro. This is the iconic orange door of the Parker Palm Springs.

Palm Springs is Instagram door heaven. I will be showing you more below. The interior of the Parker was super stylish, all designed by the renowned interior designer, Jonathan Adler. Love the sunshine yellow of the Lemonade bar at the Parker. Here’s another inviting pool waiting for me to jump into. Now for the door tour of colourful Palm Springs. There were so many beautiful doors, I couldn’t stop snapping. All these doors were just a five minute drive away from the Saguaro hotel. Many of the houses were bungalows, one level living homes.

I’m not sure whether they were built like this because of earthquakes or whether it was the trend of the 1950s to 70s. Palm Springs have also been a popular place to retire to, so one level living may have been popular for older people who have moved there.  Here is the famous pink door of Palm Springs. A curious neighbour asked us why so many people had been photographing this door. I explained to her about Instagram. She told me that once someone got knocked over by a car, whilst photographing this door on the road. The lengths we go to, to get the perfect picture. Such a pretty Turquoise colour. and one in Emerald green. I could have spent hours just looking at these beautiful doors. I wish I could take a tour inside these houses. Are you curious too? Hope you have enjoyed my colourful tour of Palm Springs. I will show you my photos of LA soon.

Wishing you a happy start to your weeks.

( All photography are by Geraldine Tan, editor of Little Big Bell. All images are copyright of Little Big Bell).

Maltesers Dot Dot Dot – Maltesers Luxury chocolates have arrived.

Good morning. Breaking news! Something unusual is happening in London, because everything is turning red with gold polka dots. Even the post box has contracted this case of MALTESERS Dot Dot Dot. This London phone box, in front of Big Ben, has transformed too.

That red bus better watch out, or it’ll be next. There was no escaping at home either, gold polka dots have infiltrated. All because this gift arrived in the post. Dare I open it? I had to know. Maltesers Luxury chocolates Ta dah! The reveal. 16 pieces of Maltesers Luxury chocolates wrapped in red and gold polka dot foils.

If you are a Maltesers fan like I, then this is probably music to your ears. These Luxury chocolates were so precious, hence the gold and glass box above. As you can imagine, because of my love for Maltesers, my glass box soon emptied out.

Tea was already made in anticipation. What does it taste like? I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into one. I wasn’t the only one, as my son was already waiting in anticipation.

This was therefore the fastest photo shoot I had ever done. Here it is all unwrapped. A milky chocolate outer layer, so smooth to bite into. Right in the centre is a delicious chocolate and malty filling, encased in a wafer shell, real MALTESERS Teasers pieces and covered in milk chocolate.

As much as I tried to resist, these chocolates didn’t last for long.  Don’t you think this would be the perfect Mother’s day gift? You can purchase a box now at Debenhams for £6.

I can’t believe that as a result of this post, I may well have tempted myself to go get another box. Have I tempted you too?

For more information, do check out MALTESERS’ Facebook page and Instagram account. Wishing you a wonderful week ahead.

( This is a sponsored post with Maltesers Luxury Chocolates . All photography and styling are my own except for the first three images that are by David Parry/PA wire. All opinions are my own).

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