For this year’s Milan Design Week, Mini joined forces with London-based architects Studiomama to present Mini Living – Built By All which promotes the principal of collaborative participation with the creative use of a small living area, publicly accessible space and the reciprocity of private and communal living
A surface area of just a few square meters is used to create very personal and attractive spaces, reflecting Mini’s core principle of the “creative use of space”.
This new installation reveals a visionary living concept brought to life in a close collaboration between residents and architects, to look to solve future challenges in the urban environment.
Covering a surface area of just 15-20 square meters, but on very different floor plans and in different forms, colors and materials, are four contrasting living units.
The approach underpinning the design allows each unit to express the individual personalities of their residents at the same time as underscoring the concept’s variety and scope.
Are traditional design processes still the most successful solution to the challenges of limited living space ?
Project Development at Studiomama, London
“ It looks like by the end of the twenty-first century we will all be living in cities and I think that we have to rethink how we are living, more efficiently and that will probably mean smaller footprint smaller spaces. That’s a logical consequence: we can build higher, or we can build smaller.” ………… …………. Tolstrup
‘ With the populations of our cities growing ever bigger, we asked ourselves, “how can we live better on a smaller scale” . People’s lives are becoming dematerialised, thanks to technology, so living spaces can be smaller, but they shouldn’t have to sacrifice on quality.’,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Nina Tolstrup
“ If you share parts of your home, you need less space. Why pay for a dining room in your home that seats 12, if you only want to entertain three times a year, when you could share one instead? And with more and more people living alone these days, access to talks and happenings can really enhance their quality of life – whether they’re young or old – building a strong sense of community
None of what we’re suggesting is new, but this is a more personalised and formalised way of tackling shared living spaces – and its much more design-led.
We need to find solutions that actually provide spaces that feel human and allow people to connect. Each of the living totems is the same but can be reconfigured by its inhabitants., We designed them with distinct personalities in mind to show how they could be customised. ” ………….. Nina Tolstrup
The design team selected triangles, rectangles and arcs as the basic geometric shapes that can be adjusted and combined by residents to form their own geometry, based on the available space.
Textiles and other tactile materials are attached to an underlying structure to increase or decrease the levels of transparency, and therefore privacy, that the obstructions have.
Studiomama built a micro neighbourhood inside a former factory hall in Milan, complete with a cluster of totem-like living spaces that can be personalised by their inhabitants.
The London-based design firm’s ‘MINI Living – Built By All’ concept recalls Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena’s ‘Half A Good House’ project, which gives residents the chance to finish their homes themselves and raise their living standards.
Studiomama’s design is on a decidedly more diminutive scale, however, reducing living spaces to a series of plywood and MDF structures spanning 2.5m x 2.5m, wrapped in translucent shells.
The living units are embedded in a shared space incorporating functions such as a communal kitchen, fitness area, and atrium
The installation adopted the existing structures – e.g. pillars and struts – and complements them with additional functionalities. The result is a standalone, living micro-neighborhood in an old factory hall.
It demonstrates how unused warehouses, abandoned shopping centers and offices can be transformed into potential living spaces.
Personal space and community areas are distinct from one another yet cleverly intertwined, offering residents the power to choose when their dwellings can be opened up.
As such, communal areas become extensions of private spaces.
Four SHELLS define individual rooms.
The SHELLS are equipped with TOTEMS—highly individualised, integrated pieces of furniture that cater to the everyday needs of the inhabitants.
The compact modules are special structures with various levels for retreat and sleep, as well as integrated storage for clothes and personal items.
Although hugely inventive in design, they are deeply functional areas that give space to sleep, eat and work.
Areas between the personal SHELLS serve as communal spaces.
The shared kitchen is designed as a meeting place for guests and residents.
A community kitchen table serves as a dining and working area for larger gatherings, and the ‘Amphitheatre’ provides open space for lively discussions, film screenings, and any number of public events.
“Today’s standardized housing market is limited in its ability to meet the requirements of the individual,so Mini Living – Built By All turns people into active creators and puts them at the heart of the design process.
We believe that ultimately the quality of a living space is determined by how well the residents identify with their home.” ……………. Oke Hauser, Creative Lead Mini Living
Studiomama envisaged one yellow-hued space for a botanical illustrator, whose tiny home includes a mini greenhouse,
“ We live in fascinating times, these ideas enable the people inside of cities to become the architects of the kind of world they want to live in”.
At the same time, this urbanization process comes with certain challenges. We need to find solutions that actually provide spaces that feel human and allow people to connect.” …… Oke Hauser
The communal garden offers the opportunity to relax and connect with nature.
It is a space for leisure and the responsibility of caring for it is shared. In contrast, the gym encourages invigorating activity.
Another living environment is conceived for a DJ, whose blue-tinged, bachelor-style totem comes complete with a mini recording studio.
Conceived to show how empty warehouses, offices and shopping centres could be recolonised, the installation comes with a communal kitchen, dining area and an ‘amphitheatre’ for film screenings, talks and events.
In keeping with the idea of participative architecture, visitors have the opportunity to create their own visions of urban living spaces in the form of small conceptual models.
These are displayed on the ” Wall of Fame ” over the course of the installation
Danish designer Nina Tolstrup founded Studiomama in 2000 with husband and design collaborator Jack Mama.
True to Nina’s Scandinavian roots, simplicity and integrity are the trademarks of her work; a pared-down, contemporary but characterful aesthetic combined with a democratic belief in good design for all.
A passionate belief in designing for the real world go a long way to explaining the timeless and unpretentious qualities of the studio’s work. But whilst Studiomama’s work can be simple, honest and minimal it is always playfulness, releverant and humorous.
Studiomama has pioneered open source by pushing the limits of material recycling, extending product life and exploring new forms of up cycling, whilst simultaneously challenging conventional business models and distribution methods.
Nina’s curiosity for new challenges has resulted in an incredibly diverse portfolio (furniture, electronic products, jewellery, glassware, exhibition-design, NGO collaborations, interior and architectural projects), all realised via novel processes, technologies and materials. Studiomama’s passion for variety gives her an extraordinary broad perspective evidenced in a daring, influential and socially relevant body of work.
Studiomama has long been experimenting with micro living.
Last year, it created a 13 sqm home concept in a former minicab office in London, with extendable furniture and bookshelves that double as beds.
Nina and Jack also designed a 36 sqm beach house for themselves on the Kent coast and turned a London carpenter’s workshop into a home, complete with a hanging sleeping ‘pod’.
While Tolstrup and Mama might spend most of their time in a more voluminous London home, they’ve learnt lessons from their time spent in small spaces.
When the duo moved briefly to Stockholm for a few years, they were forced put all their possessions in storage. Less possessions means greater flexibility too.
‘ We didn’t miss anything – half the things we have in our home, we don’t need. Small spaces are easy to manage, plus you can pack up and travel with ease.’
‘ You become more disciplined, you buy stackable furniture and you learn to outsource things like cleaning. Jack jokes about how I’ve been taking lessons from Marie Kondo, doing things like rolling up my clothes. It’s kind of hysterical but it works.’ …………………… Studiomama
About MINI LIVING
MINI LIVING is an initiative first launched by MINI in 2016 with the aim of devising creative architectural solutions for the urban lifestyles of the future.
BUILT BY ALL is the third installation presented by MINI at Milan Design Week to highlight aspects of MINI LIVING.
MINI LIVING has already exhibited visionary concepts for shared and collaborative living/working in our cities in Milan over recent years with its MINI LIVING – BREATHE and MINI LIVING – Do Disturb installations.
The first habitable MINI LIVING project will open its doors in Shanghai in 2019.
Here, an innovative space-related concept for living and working is taking shape in converted industrial buildings on a surface area of just under 8,000 square metres.
“ Mini Living provides creative solutions for collaborative urban living – on a small footprint but offering many possibilities and a high degree of flexibility,” “Our first large hub, containing over 50 apartments and communal/public spaces on an area twice the size again is currently being constructed in Shanghai. As with Built By All, the residents are co-creators of their space.” ……………….. Esther Bahne, Head of Mini Brand Strategy and Business Innovation.
About The BMW Group
With its four brands BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad, the BMW Group is the world’s leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles and also provides premium financial and mobility services.
The BMW Group production network comprises 30 production and assembly facilities in 14 countries; the company has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.
In 2017, the BMW Group sold over 2,463,500 passenger vehicles and more than 164,000 motorcycles worldwide.
The profit before tax in the financial year 2017 was € 10.655 billion on revenues amounting to € 98.678 billion.
As of 31 December 2017, the BMW Group had a workforce of 129,932 employees.
The success of the BMW Group has always been based on long-term thinking and responsible action.
The company has therefore established ecological and social sustainability throughout the value chain, comprehensive product responsibility and a clear commitment to conserving resources as an integral part of its strategy.