Mini is known for squeezing lots of space out of little cars, but the manufacturer has looked to branch out in recent years. Along with the usual concept cars, we've seen house and camping concepts designed to offer smart solutions for space-limited city dwellers. The latest Mini Living installation, launched in Milan this week, is an eco-minded three-floor house squeezed into a 50 square-meter (538 square-foot) urban plot.
Conceived in conjunction with architectural design firm SO-IL, the Breathe installation is designed to sit on a small plot of land in crowded urban centers. A modular metal frame and flexible, translucent outer skin can be configured to create up to six separate rooms and a roof garden, spread across three floors.
The ground floor and kitchen are set up as an open, welcoming space, just like the living room in any communal home. Because the layout is modular, the upper reaches of the Breathe home can be set up in a number of different ways depending on how many people are living there. Mini says the "various living spaces" can be set up for relaxation or work, including a bathroom.
If you're particularly attached to the idea of personal space or privacy, now might be a good time to look away. As you might have gathered from the images, the interior walls aren't actually proper walls. Instead, they're made of a special textile designed to let some light through, making it possible for other occupants to see silhouettes and movement. Mini says the setup creates "a feeling of connectedness and togetherness" and also "grants residents a sense of privacy," but we'd argue most people would trade that feeling of togetherness for a set of fully-formed walls.
The interior walls aren't the only translucent elements of Mini's design; the whole outer skin of the building is slightly see-through. This, according to the designers, floods the interior with sunlight for a pleasant atmosphere. Also contributing to the atmosphere are the roof-garden and air-filtering outer skin, both of which help pull pollution from the air.
When the time comes to move on, or the space in which it sits is no longer free, the modular Breathe home can be packed up and relocated. Because the outer fabric is removable, the skin pictured can be replaced to suit different climates and environments. No word on whether it can be replaced with something offering a bit more privacy, but we can certainly dream.
The Mini Living Breathe installation is on show at Salone del Mobile in Milan.