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REDESIGNING UNUSED SPACE BASED ON THE BELIEF THAT COMMUNITIES ARE BEST BUILT FROM WITHIN.
How is the way people live together in cities evolving?
OKE HAUSER: Cities are fascinating and ambivalent places, they are places of manifestation and constant change at the same time—our most human invention. Many architectural planning and design approaches no longer reflect these human principles and we at MINI LIVING sense a strong need to literally break down walls to create true urban places – places that provide inspiration and enhance our human spirit by being together. In this day and age, there is a strong will to design the world we really want to live in from the bottom up. Putting people’s needs first is ultimately the essence and beauty of architecture.
NINA TOLSTRUP: Yes, big changes are necessary. Cities are under great pressure. If the current trends continue, we will all be living an urban life by the end of the 21st century. Space is getting more expensive and the predominant mindset among the younger generations is driven by experience rather than ownership. Reflecting this, the main idea of this project for Salone del Mobile consists of creating a conceptual structure for flexible co-living – adaptable spaces and social inclusion. It is a pop-up idea – using an empty warehouse space for a limited time.
What are the biggest challenges that urban living is currently facing?
NT: Two of the main challenges are density and urbanisation, but we also have historic opportunities for new socio- economic constellations and environmental solutions. It is an amazing time of radical changes with a need for innovation and creative thinking. We just have to get the balance right to move towards a more sustainable and enjoyable future for everyone.
OH: We all love cities, but of course they present great challenges at the same time. Instead of building homogeneous apartment complexes in response to the lack of space, we have to find inspiring places that provide human interactions. MINI has a track record of tackling challenges with clever design approaches since its beginning. In this collaboration, MINI LIVING is translating the age-old MINI design philosophy of “Creative Use of Space” into architecture in order to shape a better world to live in.
We just have to get the balance right to move towards a more sustainable and enjoyable future for everyone.
What does MINI LIVING have in mind when talking about unused interior space?
OH: In the past, MINI LIVING has shown how to transform empty urban space into inhabitable places. Empty warehouses, malls and offices provide great opportunities waiting to be turned into living spaces. The problem may not even be the amount of space itself, but how we use it.
Do you see a need to reorganise the design process in architecture?
NT: Yes, and it is also important to excite people with inspirational ideas and solutions, while at the same time motivating politicians and decision-makers to make brave calls and investments.
OH: BUILT BY ALL takes a different approach to the conventional topdown architectural process. It is entirely focussed on empowering individuals to create their own habitat in collaborative ways. After all, who says only architects have great ideas about how we should all live? We wanted to explore the full creative potential of each one of us by providing a toolkit to create the world we all want to live in. Our home is as personal as it gets, and everybody should be able to design it that way.
What makes MINI LIVING and Studiomama the perfect match for this Salone project?
OH: We share the same mindset and believe in a challenging design approach to fully explore the potential of the creative use of space. This approach questions conventions and regulations, and is centred around a more joyful and human vision for our cities.
What is Studiomama’s specific approach to architecture and design?
NT: We like to work on the edge of contradictions – being playful and pragmatic at the same time. We strive to optimise spaces with flexible, transformative and adaptable solutions. In our process we try to think of the functional benefits and the emotional qualities a solution brings to each individual.
Who says only architects have great ideas about how we should all live?
Is there a basic set of needs that every new solution for living should address?
NT: I think our needs are changing with the progression of technology. This has an impact on our way of life and society as a whole. There might be a basic set of needs, but it is always a welcome challenge to question the status quo.
What does BUILT BY ALL stand for?
OH: MINI has always focussed on people and their individualities. The idea of BUILT BY ALL is a result of this mindset. By inverting the conventional top-down planning process, we are seeking to turn users into makers. BUILT BY ALL provides a toolkit based on a small personal footprint, which enables people to truly design their habitat according to their necessities.