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Breathe: A hint of sustainable architecture

It is no news that the world’s biggest furniture fair, held in Milan, is now extending into even the most remote corners of the city. But what looked like temporary housing arrangements between the walls of the Zona Tortona district wasn’t the answer to the annual crowds of visitors to Salone del Mobile, but rather the prototype of a visionary urban architecture.
With its Breathe installation, the MINI LIVING team challenges conventional living concepts in a creative and sustainable manner.

Façade-free architecture – including a safety net

Hidden away in a small courtyard, Breathe spirals upwards between old buildings on a surface area measuring just five metres.

A visionary prototype for urban coexistence

Promote urban coexistence rather than isolating inhabitants. Source: Mini Living
At first glance, Breathe resembles a closed, rather wobbly and temporarily constructed tube-shaped pavilion. But appearances are deceptive: a solid steel frame supports the “façade”, which is made up of a very delicate net fabric in the shape of a flexible cocoon. Up to the third floor, plastic grids are used as see-through floor panels. Protected from prying eyes during the day thanks to its air- and light-permeable exterior, the architectural creation glows like a transparent paper lantern at night. Where the interior starts and the exterior ends is not quite clear with this living concept – and so it shouldn’t, as Breathe’s intention is not to isolate its inhabitants, but rather to bring them into contact with their surroundings and promote urban coexistence within the smallest of spaces. 

Tailored for coexistence by means of sustainability

The inhabitants meet on the ground floor kitchen, an open space equipped with hob, sink, and dining table.
A narrow spiral staircase leads to the “private rooms” – although “room” in this wall-less architectural structure is an idea as theoretical as “private”. A free-standing shower suffices as a bathroom, clothes rails replace bulky wardrobes, and flexible stretch nets provide a place to sleep. Here, it is not the furniture that counts, but rather the message: you do not need a villa to provide up to three people with adequate accommodation. With all its lightness, living here seems consistently “down-to-earth” and somewhat improvised, but mainly sustainable.

After all, the airy house made from recyclable materials is not just economical; it is so intended to act as an air purifier thanks to its permeable shell. Ten metres above the ground, a small roof garden offers an expansive view amidst the urban jungle and houses a rainwater collection tank with filter unit.

Sustainable and innovative: impressions of the living concept

MINI LIVING – Breathe in Milan
MINI LIVING – Breathe in Milan
MINI LIVING – Breathe in Milan
MINI LIVING – Breathe in Milan
MINI LIVING – Breathe in Milan
MINI LIVING – Breathe in Milan
MINI LIVING – Breathe in Milan
Fresh and vibrant plants create a cool urban micro-climate, not only up here on the roof, but in the entire cocoon-style home: a house with an architecture intended to create an active ecosystem in symbiosis with the environment – and thus intended to contribute to sustainability.

A minimalistic living concept for maximum living space

Fully in line with MINI’s motto “Big life. Small footprint”, this light structure creates a living space within the smallest of spaces and offers everything we need to survive: air, light, water – and a few nice little extras too.
The installation is the third architectural project by the MINI LIVING initiative, with which the British small car brand has been expanding its core business towards urban living concepts since 2016. The MINI team brought reinforcements on board in the form of experienced experts from a New York-based architectural design firm to conceptualize the transparent accommodation. The minimalistic living concept already seemed to be a hit at this year’s Salone del Mobile held early April, as visitors could get close enough for a look behind the airy façade. If the prototype catches on as a future urban architecture concept, all that would be needed would be some inhabitants who have a head for heights and do not really mind noise.
Quelle: MINI / YouTube

How much space and privacy could you give up? Would the airy net home be an option for you? We look forward to receiving your comments.

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