MINI LIVING Shanghai
DAWN TILL DUSK WITH OKE HAUSER.
Like many city-dwellers, architect and creative lead of MINI LIVING, MINI’s new co-living project, Oke Hauser never stops. On paper, the architect is based in Munich. In practice, his days swoop between time zones.
This borderless reality gives Hauser a unique worldview which has a profound impact on his work. Cultural differences and global diversity inspire him on a daily basis, and Hauser’s lifestyle mirrors the living philosophies he espouses through his work for MINI.
We asked the architect to lead us through a ‘typical’ day in his life, although, as Hauser’s diary shows, there really is no such thing.
On my way to the airport in Munich and off to a conference in Berlin called Class2020. China is six hours ahead, so there’s time to catch up with the team about the progress on our MINI LIVING construction site in Shanghai. Our first co-living hub opens there next February and we are busy preparing the Sneak Preview in November.
Take off. Time to disconnect above the clouds. The moment when the plane punches through the grey clouds, and the rising sun turns the clouds into an infinite golden landscape.
I take a walk around the block focusing on the materials and the geometries of Berlin’s sidewalks. As MINI LIVING is all about blurring the boundaries between public and private, we want the sidewalk to literally flow seamlessly into the ground floor.
I was a skateboarder for almost 25 years and it trained my eye to urban surfaces. Each city has a specific sound when you roll through its streets and this walk brings back some good memories of my years in Berlin.
A quick stop at my favourite bookshop Pro qm in Mitte. It’s the best-curated architecture and design bookshop and is stocked with social and political publications fighting for a better world. I leave with Building and Dwelling: Ethics for the City by Richard Sennet and Jane Jacobs’, The Death and Life of Great American Cities.
I love walking through cities at night looking at all the illuminated windows and imagining the lives
happening behind them.
I’m fixing the last slides of the keynote over lunch at Daluma, which focuses on regional and seasonal food. At MINI LIVING, we’re aiming to always think holistically about consumption for a big life on a small footprint.
I arrive at the conference venue: an amazing empty warehouse in Kreuzberg. Berlin always shows how to breath new life into existing spaces in unconventional ways. Time to catch up with some of the leaders rethinking housing around the globe. I really believe we can create places that foster human spirit beyond borders and bring value to people’s lives.
At the conference, I try to make a point that we believe in our MINI LIVING projects rather as platforms for true urbanity, open to the public and enhancing social diversity. The weird thing is that as our cities become denser and denser, people feel more isolated and lonely. A city is the sum of its human connections. This is the spirit of the places we are trying to create here.
Time for a drink and a quick call with graphic artist Camille Walala from London. I’m truly grateful to be able to work with such great talents across various disciplines.
Heading over to the Holzmarkt for a tour by one of the founders. It’s a grassroots project that started as the legendary techno club Bar25 in 2003 and has, since then, turned into a small neighbourhood integrating housing, artist residencies and public spaces at the Spreeufer in the most prominent area of Berlin. I leave deeply impressed by its persistence and social impact for the whole city.
Time to prepare dinner at Happy Pigeons, a small co-living project in Prenzlauer Berg that focuses on strengthening the whole neighbourhood through multiple initiatives. While cutting veggies, we talk about how to implement strategies for building more diverse neighbourhoods. We all need to get off our screens more often, knock on our neighbour’s doors and invite them over for dinner.
After dessert I take off, wandering a foggy autumn Berlin. I love
walking through cities at night looking at all the illuminated windows and imagining the lives happening behind them. It’s been 30 years since the Berlin wall came down and the city still feels like an ongoing experiment.
A quick drink with friends at Bar3 nearby and then off to bed.
I hardly make it past the first pages of Jane Jacobs’ book. Her quote, “By its nature, the metropolis provides what otherwise could be given only by travelling; namely, the strange”, seems to be a good starting point for an inspiring dream.
This is MINI LIVING. Stay Open.