Mini Living: Innovative interior concepts for urban homes
How much space do we actually need to live a comfortable life? Can community-led design processes still produce individual spaces? How can we harness architecture to improve quality of life in even the smallest urban homes? The Mini Living initiative is answering all of these questions and more, with innovative new living concepts and visionary design ideas for the city of the future.
Mini Living: A new approach to small-space living
The ever-declining amount of living space in cities is one of the greatest challenges faced by today’s generation of urban planners, architects and designers.
The team at Mini Living has developed a creative response to this problem.
In 2016, British car brand Mini added another string to its bow, with innovative new living concepts designed to facilitate urban living and working. With the Mini maxim of “Big Life – Small Footprint” as a starting point, the team develops design-led solutions that aim to meet the complex needs of future generations occupying the smallest spaces in our largest cities. In partnership with international architects and designers, Mini Living has already successfully completed a number of projects and presents the results of its visionary living concepts to global audiences at trade fairs and festivals.
Mini Living – Built by all: Working together to create individual solutions
Limited living space forces people to live closer together. The latest Mini Living project harnesses this new proximity by deliberately creating opportunities for those people to collaborate and shape the public spaces around them. At this year’s Salone del Mobile in Milan, the Mini Living – Built by all installation invited urban citizens and architects to work together.
In direct contrast to the traditional housing market, Mini Living relies on participation to tailor its offerings to the housing needs and aspirations of individuals. The living concept, designed in partnership with London architecture firm Studiomama, encourages public spaces such as a community kitchen and outdoor gym to fuse into “micro-neighbourhoods”.
Mini Living Urban Nest: A modular neighbourhood designed for flexibility
At Mini’s Urban Matters event held in Shanghai last October, Penda Architects from Beijing compiled a collage of inspiring ideas for individual use of space with the Mini Living Urban Nest installation.
The starting point for the installation was to create a building in motion, capable of continually adapting to its urban environment and the needs of its residents. The open and flexible Mini Living concept was based on 3 x 3-metre room modules, which city dwellers can install and combine as they wish to build their own individual micro-neighbourhoods.
Mini Living Urban Cabin: Architecture as a reflection of the city
In the world’s largest metropolises, living space is increasingly scarce – and expensive. Instead of resorting to skyscrapers or house boats, Mini Living’s Urban Cabin is carving out a new path for the urban residential market. The innovative idea strives to facilitate life, learning and interaction in the smallest possible spaces. At the 2017 London Design Festival, Mini Living showcased its modular construction, which is designed to “shapeshift” to reflect the character of the city. British designerSam Jacob took on the task of creating an architectural reflection of London, integrating two modules into the shipping container-sized Urban Cabin.
The two areas – a space for social cooking events and a micro-library that encourages people to read and share books – highlights the community spirit of a city that is home to people from a diverse range of cultures with many different interests.
In other cities, too, Mini Living commissioned local architects to transform and add to the Urban Cabin to reflect their environment; Studio Bureau V created a colourful interpretation of the pioneering living concept during New York City’s Architecture and Design Month Archtober 2017.
Mini Living Breathe: Maximum sustainability, minimum footprint
Visitors to the Salone del Mobile in 2017 were able to marvel at another extraordinary installation by Mini Living: In Mini Living Breathe, the architects at New York-based SO-IL put the sustainable use of essential natural resources such as air, water and light at the centre of their design. Environmentally friendly and recyclable materials were used to build a cocoon-style home that enables residents to coexist and share resources in a responsible and sustainable way.
At just five metres wide and ten metres tall, the flexible-shelled living space was designed to accommodate up to three people. The mini-ecosystem homes had no solid walls; the transparent outer shell served as an air filter to keep the interior comfortable, and plants on the roof improved the urban microclimate.
Mini Living has come up with many innovative ways to develop visionary living concepts for urban life, to use space flexibly and to create individual homes in city environments.
We can’t wait to see which of these creative ideas become part of our urban landscape in the years to come.
Which Mini Living concept do you find most fascinating? Tell us what you think in the comments!