How do we cope with the increasing shortage of attractive housing in today’s cities? Car manufacturer MINI teamed up with New York architects SO – IL to tackle this challenge by producing an innovative solution: MINI LIVING — Breathe. Unveiled at the Milan Salone del Mobile 2017, the tiny housing prototype reinvents urban living and offers owners a refreshing garden-like environment and the freedom to move and adapt their home.
Located on a previously unused 50-square-meter urban plot, the MINI LIVING — Breathe installation comprises six compact living spaces and a roof garden for three people inside a five-meter-wide microhome. Built with a modular metal frame, the home can be easily disassembled, moved, and reassembled or expanded upon in a new location. A flexible and light-permeable outer skin wraps around the metal skeleton instead of opaque walls. The light-filled housing prototype follows MINI’s principles “Creative use of space” and “Minimal footprint.”
MINI Living — Breathe’s forward-thinking design is centered on the idea of a house as an active ecosystem. The translucent outer skin, which can be replaced with different fabrics depending on the urban climate, features a special coating that filters and neutralizes the air. The ten-meter-tall home acts as a giant air filter and helps improve the surrounding microclimate with its lush rooftop garden with plants that help clean toxins from the air.
“The approach we took with MINI LIVING – Breathe extends far beyond purely a living concept,” says Oke Hauser, Creative Lead of MINI LIVING. “We view the installation as an active ecosystem, which makes a positive contribution to the lives and experiences of the people who live there and to the urban microclimate, depicted here by the intelligent use of resources essential to life – i.e. air, water and light.”
The kitchen, located on the ground floor, serves as the main entry area and social gathering point of the home. Living spaces are located in the above three levels, while the sleeping areas, a potential wet area, and a roof garden are placed in the uppermost floors. Textile walls divide the living areas and allow for privacy while still permitting light to seep through. A water catchment system on the roof harvests rainwater for reuse in the tap.
SO – IL writes: “By making living an active experience, the installation shines a spotlight on environmental awareness and encourages visitors to confront our tendency to take resources for granted. Instead of a traditional organization with rooms dedicated to specific functions, this house is composed as a loose stack of porous realms. A variety of atmospheres and spatial experiences are generated through the manipulation of light, air and water.” MINI Living — Breathe is open to visitors of the Salone del Mobile on Via Tortona 32 in Milan, Italy from April 4 to April 9, 2017.
Images © Laurian Ghinitoiu