While not quite in vogue, flexible living spaces with adaptable interiors are growing more attractive as urban developers grapple with booming populations and ever-limited space. Automaker Mini is turning its eye for compact design to this emerging architectural trend with a series of micro apartments that maximize lifestyle options, the latest of which is currently on show in downtown LA as part of the city's Design Week Festival.
The Mini Living Urban Cabin in LA follows similar concepts designed for London and New York, with others in Beijing and Tokyo planned for later in 2018. Each cabin is conceived specifically for its city, with the local identity and culture key considerations in their designs.
The LA rendition was developed with LA-based architecture duo FreelandBuck. Built into an unused attic space in the downtown area, the cabin is made up of two exterior modules covered in a perforated metal facade that serve as living areas, along with a central "experiential space."
That experiential space is where FreelandBuck were handed the design reins, creating a hanging garden and more perforated surfaces to welcome in airflow and natural light. This is designed to create a sense of country living for visitors, despite the cabin's location smack bang in the middle of a major city.
Space-saving mechanisms like folding dining tables and shelves and rotating panels feature throughout, allowing the space to be opened up and transformed to suit different living scenarios. These also change the lighting and spatial impression inside, and allow it to switch from a private to shared space.
These cabins are a way of exploring flexible-co-living solutions in different cultures around the world, but Mini does plan to put some of these ideas into action. It is currently working on a co-living village in Shanghai, China that will feature 50 apartments and is slated to open in 2019.
"Our installations and visionary formats seek to explore a whole new range of possibilities in the creative use of space, and we're now putting what we've learned into practice in the form of real-life construction projects," says Esther Bahne, Head of Strategy and Innovation Mini. "In Shanghai we're currently working on our first hub with more than 50 apartments complete with shared and public space: this is due to open in April next year."
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