MINI LiIving, Rediscovering the Essentials

MINI LiIving, Rediscovering the Essentials

What if our houses came to life? That’s the question which MINI tried to answer when creating MINI Living just a year ago. Beginning with the search for visionary architectural solutions, this programme questions human behaviour as well as its social and environmental impact. Do Disturb, the first installation which was the result of a collaboration with the Japanese studio ON Design, questions the small size of our houses and the sharing of space. The story continued in 2016 at the London Design Festival, with the translucent creations of the architect Asif Khan. Or how to re-appropriate urban spaces by relocating humans and nature. Back at the 2017 edition of the Milan Furniture Fair, MINI Living is continuing its quest and has partnered with the New York architectural studio SO-IL to create Breathe, a conceptual vision of using urban spaces creatively and with a minimal footprint. The installation, designed as a vertical house which is totally open to its surroundings, becomes a sensory experience for its inhabitants. Water management, the interplay of light and shadow and an airy feeling all play a role in creating a totally immersive living space. Exploring other solutions doesn’t stop there. MINI Living goes to meet the culinary stylist Laila Gohar with The Conscious Café, a curious approach to the way we eat, based on what makes up our food (including the percentage of air and water). The A Factory as it Might Be project, created by a London collective, focuses on the nitty-gritty and explores the manufacturing process as a creative and collaborative activity. The experience comes to a gentle end in the darkness, which is soothed by the strange sounds of mobiles and other moving objects which come alive before our eyes and create a symphony of water, air and light. An amazing visit with architects Ilias Papageorgiou and Oke Hauser.

 

Breathe Mini Living Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Plante Miroir Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Installation Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Installation Salon Salone del Mobile Milan 2017

Oke, Illias, how did the idea for this concept come about?

 

Oke

We observed the city and its inhabitants. We wanted to create a form of movement and interaction with the idea of focusing on living spaces which aren’t just heaps of concrete. We wanted to see how we can contribute and act on our urban environment to make it healthier. People are increasingly concerned about their well-being, the products they consume and their surroundings. We think that architecture must also play a role in improving life in our cities.

 

What’s the vision behind Breathe?

 

Oke

It’s a prototype which shows how we could live in a not so distant future. It’s a long way from the feel ultra-smart houses, full of technology and robots. We’ve chosen to focus entirely on nature and the elements of air, water and light, used intelligently and, above all, sustainably.

 

How does this house work?

 

Ilias

We imagined a vertical structure which would fit easily into any city. It’s 10 metres high with a floor area of 5m2 and three people could live there. Of course, it’s entirely designed in ecological and recyclable materials. It’s surrounded by a transparent and permeable membrane which lets the light in and an ensures a constant renewal of air, creating an extremely pleasant atmosphere. On the roof, we created a garden and a system to harvest rainwater. The transparency of the partitions plays another role: everyone always knows where the other inhabitants are in the house. This creates a real feeling of connecting.

 

Breathe Mini Living Portrait Architecte SO-IL Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Entrée Breathe Mini Living Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Portrait Architecte SO-IL Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Salone del Mobile Milan 2017

People move about so much more, so I don’t think we need more space but more mobility. This house definitely provides that.

Breathe Mini Living Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Fleurs Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Cuisine Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Cuisine Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Cuisine Salone del Mobile Milan 2017

Why do you say that it has a positive effect on its surroundings?

 

Ilias

Its external membrane, for example, is covered with a purifying coating. The sun’s rays come into contact with the surface which produces a reaction which breaks down dust and pollutants. It’s a technology which already exists. We didn’t invent it for the project. It’s just not sufficiently used.

 

In terms of space, it’s a rather small living space. Why?

 

Ilias

The very concepts of property and housing have changed a great deal. We live with far more instability than previous generations. Technology has significantly changed the world of work, borders, the way we travel… People move about so much more, so I don’t think we need more space but more mobility. This house definitely provides that. It can be assembled and disassembled very quickly. The house is also designed to adapt to its surroundings. We could easily install another type of membrane for those living in colder countries, for example.

 

Do you think that we must lose quality of life if we’re going to have a more responsible approach?

 

Ilias

No, I don’t think so. It’ll just be another way of living and organising ourselves. There’s plenty of technology heading in that direction which already exists. The technology is just not sufficiently used and publicised.

 

Breathe Mini Living Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Cuisine Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Salone del Mobile Milan 2017

With The Conscious Café, the idea is to create a plate of food by choosing from the different available elements: water, air, light

Breathe Mini Living Cuisine Champignon Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Salone del Mobile Milan 2017
Breathe Mini Living Salone del Mobile Milan 2017

Credits : Eve Campestrini @thesocialitefamily

In collaboration with MINI.

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