Architecture

Mini extends "creative use of space" principle to urban living

Mini extends "creative use of ...
Mini has created an installation in Milan that imagines a modular solution to urban overcrowding
Mini has created an installation in Milan that imagines a modular solution to urban overcrowding
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The Mini Living installation centers around a 30-square-meter apartment
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The Mini Living installation centers around a 30-square-meter apartment
Mini has created an installation in Milan that imagines a modular solution to urban overcrowding
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Mini has created an installation in Milan that imagines a modular solution to urban overcrowding
The apartment's walls are formed of fold-out shelving modules
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The apartment's walls are formed of fold-out shelving modules
The apartment orms part of a micro-neighbourhood of similar apartments, which are only suggested in the installation
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The apartment orms part of a micro-neighbourhood of similar apartments, which are only suggested in the installation
Mini has envisioned an apartment where people get the privacy of a normal apartment with a hint of communal living
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Mini has envisioned an apartment where people get the privacy of a normal apartment with a hint of communal living
The apartment's walls are formed of fold-out shelving modules
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The apartment's walls are formed of fold-out shelving modules
The house is fitted out with typically stylish furniture
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The house is fitted out with typically stylish furniture
Mini says it is taking on an apartment because its users tend to live in urban areas
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Mini says it is taking on an apartment because its users tend to live in urban areas
The Mini installation was launched with the tagline "Do Disturb"
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The Mini installation was launched with the tagline "Do Disturb"
The installation can be configured for dinner parties or entertaining
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The installation can be configured for dinner parties or entertaining
The installation will be on display until April 17
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The installation will be on display until April 17
Mini's installation has been designed as a solution for urban living
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Mini's installation has been designed as a solution for urban living
Mini says the installation applies its brand's essence to housing
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Mini says the installation applies its brand's essence to housing
The display is standalone, but its designers envision it as a part of a wider community
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The display is standalone, but its designers envision it as a part of a wider community
The Mini installation in Milan
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The Mini installation in Milan
The apartment is on display at Salone del Mobile in Milan
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The apartment is on display at Salone del Mobile in Milan
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Mini, renowned purveyor of cars that aren't necessarily all that miniature anymore, has turned its hand to tackling the problem of urban overcrowding. The Mini Living installation at Salone de Mobile in Milan is a concept apartment that uses folding modules to create a shareable, reconfigurable space for inner-city urbanites.

Built around a 30-sq.m (323-sq.ft) apartment, the Mini installation's party trick is a set of clever fold-out shelving modules that form the apartments walls and handle everything from audio entertainment to your dinner. By opening up the different modules, owners are able to quickly set their apartment up to entertain by flipping down the speaker modules, or start cooking for a dinner party by opening out the kitchenette module.

Although the installation in Milan is a standalone apartment, its creators envision it as a small part of a wider micro-neighborhood of similar apartments where neighbors are able to share their modules. While those who put a premium of privacy may shudder at the thought, the design is intended more for those with a sense of adventure who are willing to open up their individual living space with the wider community to encourage new interactions and experiences and engender a sense of community.

The apartment's walls are formed of fold-out shelving modules
The apartment's walls are formed of fold-out shelving modules

Even if you are able to get over the idea of sharing your kitchen unit or entertainment module with someone else, there is one big question raised by the installation: why is an automotive company bothering with an apartment? (Albeit with the help of Japanese architects ON design and the Berlin office of engineering consulting firm Arup.) According to Mini, the concept apartment is a logical extension of the brand's mission to improve the quality of urban life.

"With the MINI LIVING installation, we're looking to be part of a debate about future forms of shared living," says Oke Hauser, Project Manager on the installation. "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."

The Mini Living installation will be on display until April 17 at 18 Via Vigevano in Milan.

Source: BMW

View gallery - 16 images
1 comment
Kristianna Thomas
I live in Manhattan, New York and my "studio" apartment measures 10 feet wide by 20 feet long, and I have a 10 feet ceiling. According to the article the mini apartment has 325 square feet. I wish I had 325 square feet. Mind you, I have a very nice bathroom; nearly half the size of the apartment; unfortunately, I don't live in my bathroom. I could cover my tub and make it my bedroom at night; although, it would be convenient at night when I had to relieve myself in the middle of the night. How would you design a module space for something that is 200 square feet? Second, there are lots of condos going up in my community, and the rents are out of this world. My rent for my cubicle is going for $900/month, which is a steal in this community that has studios going for $2000/month; and one bedrooms going for $3,000/month. With all the construction going on, all around me, no one is talking about making thing modular. They talk a lot about the "housing shortage", but all around me there is a constant stream of construction in the conversions of apartments into condos. More and more people who used to live in the community are being forced out, because they can't afford the rent. The ones that are now replacing them are very affluent. This was part of Spanish Harlem, now it is becoming less and less so, but no one is talking about any housing shortage; and no one is even thinking modular.