MINI teams up with a host of international designers to create an immersive interactive experience and to promote the idea of living mindfully and sustainably in the 21st century.
What are the consequences of our actions? How can we design spaces for urban life and work that increase our awareness of the environment, our use of resources, and our responsibilities to one another? For Salone del Mobile 2017, MINI LIVING put together a team of creatives from around the world, including A/D/O, the Turner Prize-winning collective Assemble, and New York's SO – IL architecture group, to illuminate these issues and more by exploring the concept of 'conscious living'.
SO – IL
You could say the same for 'Breathe', MINI's collaboration with Brooklyn based architects SO – IL. Instead of blocking out the outside world with bricks and cement, and then timidly letting it back in via windows and doors, SO – IL have wrapped their home in a porous and semi-transparent membrane that allows light to move in and out of the structure it contains, while simultaneously purifying the air inside. The garden and rain collection system on the roof provide food and water, as well as offering you your very own urban oasis. If you're thinking about what it would be like to live here, you're probably imagining a life that's a little more in touch with the elements than the apartment you're in now, which is exactly the point. 'Breathe' allows you to live comfortably and spaciously on a small footprint, while inviting you to consider the world outside and the resources it provides—the natural elements that make our lives possible.
Assemble are known worldwide for their interactive, community-oriented projects. At the heart of their work is an interest in the relationship between utility and process, the things we use and the way they're made. At Salone del Mobile, Assemble's 'A Factory As It Might Be', curated by A/D/O, churns out brightly coloured hand-made tiles, exposing a usually hidden process, and demonstrating their concern for the impact of design in the real world, something A/D/O's Design Director, Daniel Pittman says 'affects the fine balance that must be maintained in order for us to live together'.
AN IDEAL FACTORY.
Last summer Laila Gohar started a food fight at a fashion show. Well, almost. The New York chef and food designer cooked a meal for the launch of Jason Wu's 'Grey'. It began with a bread course that was also a sculpture. Cubes, tubes, squares and rhomboids of freshly baked bread were stacked in a finely-balanced arrangement in the centre of the table. How can one take a piece without knocking the whole thing over? Each diner became acutely responsible, at that moment, for the fate of the entree, and everyone collaborated to ensure its success. This is just the kind of mindfulness and co-operation Gohar likes to encourage at her dinners and parties, and it is also the reason MINI invited her to create the Conscious Café for MINI LIVING at Salone del Mobile.
MINDFUL URBAN LIVING—WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF OUR ACTIONS?
Walk around the space and you'll see themes investigated further—in the form of installations exploring the idea of light, air and water. They're also reflected in talks presented by architectural journal Dezeen, and at discussions, parties and meals held at the Conscious Café over the course of Salone del Mobile. MINI LIVING, after all, is not just about buildings, or even just about design. Rather, MINI fosters collaborations between all disciplines, and creates interactive, immersive experiences, in the belief that cooperation and sharing are key to facing the challenges of urban life in the 21st century. After all, everything we do, from building a house to tearing off a piece of bread, has consequences for the future. This might sound ominous, but it's really another way of saying that we can make a difference, which is surely good news.