Behind the scenes: Mini's compact home at Milan's Salone del Mobil

Automotive brand Mini has built a resource-conscious living area for furniture fair, Salone del Mobil, which takes place in Milan this week.

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The 'Mini Living – Breathe' installation aims to provide a solution to the the problem that attractive places to live in cities are in increasingly short supply, and the responsible use of resources in these living spaces is an issue that is gathering urgency. 

Mini has worked with New York architects SO – IL to design and build the installation, which serves to be an attractive living area for up to three people on a previously unused 50sqm urban plot. It adheres to MINI's core principles of 'creative use of space' and 'minimal footprint'.

Esther Bahne, head of brand strategy and business innovation at Mini, said: "Mini Living – Breathe calls into question conventional living concepts and introduces a creative problem-solving approach for future challenges in urban areas. The installation shows what happens when we view houses not only as a space in which to live, but as an active part of our environment – one which plays a positive role for the environment and the people living there."


A modular metal frame forms the basic structure of the installation and a flexible, light-permeable outer skin creates the boundary between inside and outside. A total of six potential rooms and a roof garden provide space for personal fulfilment. The individual living areas are separated by light-permeable textile walls. This translucency allows people in other rooms to make out silhouettes and movements, creating a feeling of connectedness and togetherness, but also privacy.

The outer skin is translucent, too, flooding the installation with daylight. A construction on the roof collects rainwater to be used later and taken from a tap. The structure is also mobile and adaptable, designed to be disassembled and installed at another location. 

The structure also aims to enhances the microclimate in urban areas. Its flexible outer skin has a special coating that filters and neutralises the air. The roof garden uses vigorous oxygen-producing plants to further improve air quality and the urban microclimate.

Visitors to Salone del Mobil in Milan, which takes place from 4-9 April, will be able to experience the installation. The fringe programme for the installation has been put together by the brand’s A/D/O design and research platform. 

Mini will show a further Mini Living installation at A/D/O in New York in the second half of 2017.

Mini launched its Mini Living initiative launched in 2016 as a creative platform for it to develop architectural solutions for future urban living spaces. 

More: Swedish retailer Ikea will showcase a living room of the future at the Salone Del Mobile. Also see Event TV: Belvedere to create immersive installation for Milan Design Week

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