Who knew the car manufacturer could be so clever around the house?
Mini has been dipping toes into the world of tiny living and making the most of space for some time now. The latest non-automotive endeavour from the makers of the Cooper and Countryman is called 'MINI LIVING – Breathe'; a unique home utilising a 538 square-foot urban plot in Milan, Italy. Working with New York architecture firm SO-IL, the home features a modular metal frame with a flexible outer skin, and it offers up to six potential rooms as well as a roof garden for three people to enjoy.
“MINI LIVING – Breathe calls into question conventional living concepts and introduces a creative problem-solving approach for future challenges in urban areas,” explains Mini's Esther Bahne, in a release about the structure. “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.”
The home makes clever use of vertical space, starting with the kitchen and working upward with three levels of living areas for work and relaxation. Bedrooms and the roof garden complete the top levels. The entire home is wrapped with translucent walls to allow plenty of light throughout the structure, something we talked about previously. We also talked about the lack of privacy such a design offers, but if you choose to live literally between two downtown buildings in a busy metropolis, privacy probably isn’t much of a concern.
It’s definitely a beautiful design to behold, but there’s more to the MINI LIVING – Breathe than just the form. Breathe is the key word here; the flexible outer skin also functions as a filter for air both inside and outside the structure. Combine that with plants on the roof garden swapping carbon dioxide for oxygen, and Mini’s mini-home actually improves the microclimate in the area. And being a portable structure, it can be moved and adapted to many urban locations.
We’re not going to suggest that Mini should quit its day job of building cars, but there is an interesting appeal to this artful urban tiny home created in part through the manufacturer’s efforts. There are certainly all kinds of question to ask about the viability of such living, not the least of which being how it holds up in severe weather. A new MINI LIVING installation is coming to New York later this year, and based on what we’ve seen thus far, we’re very intrigued to see what comes next. Perhaps this one will have a garage.