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).