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The latest MINI LIVING Urban Cabin unveiled in Beijing reflects on the city’s rich architectural history – on just 15 sqm.
After stops in London, New York City and Los Angeles, MINI LIVING’s Urban Cabin in Beijing is inspired by one of the city’s most traditional living concepts: the hutong. This newest incarnation of that concept was developed in collaboration with local architect Sun Dayong from design studio Penda.
Until the 1990s, hutongs – traditional courtyard residencies that combine private and public space – were one of the predominant forms of urban living in Beijing. The maze-like passageways and courtyards, interlinking private apartments with public meeting spaces, encouraged community living and exchange. However, the city’s ever-growing population and scarcity of space resulted in a drastic decrease in the sprawling hutongs and a search for more compact living solutions.
The MINI LIVING Urban Cabin in Beijing brings the unique perspective of hutong living into the here and now, while staying true to its small footprint format. Building on these communal memories, the ingenious design reflects well-loved elements of the past in a cutting-edge modern space.
Located just outside the now-iconic Bird’s Nest stadium, the cabin’s central space features a periscope of angled, elevated mirrors. This creates brand new perspectives within the cabin. The mirrored surfaces generate stunning, ever-moving images, where reflections of light, the trees surrounding the cabin and the sky intertwine. A swing suspended in the centre of the space enhances that feeling of changing angles and perspectives, inviting users to look up to the rooftops and beyond.
While high-tech steel frames the cabin, an eclectic mix of materials inside emphasizes the warm and inviting character of the space. Precision CNC-cut plywood clads the interior walls, semi-transparent polycarbonate roof-lights and ceilings add soft focus to exterior views – and golden, mirror-clad surfaces create warm toned reflections. Smart design touches within the cabin include coloured hooks and hangers that can be hung wherever one needs them on the perforated walls, a bed that can be freely pulled outside, and rotating walls to divide the space at will.
This future thinking design underlines the uniquely flexible and multi-functional character of MINI Living Urban Cabins. The moveable space can be opened up to embrace the surrounding community or closed to create a more personal inner sanctum. It’s a modern reflection of the original, sociable Hutong dwellings.
Beijing’s new Cabin allows inhabitants to be truly creative with the way they live.