MINI UK presents the MINI LIVING URBAN CABIN: a communal modular-structure on the Southbank, in partnership with Sam Jacob Studio. Landmark project at London Design Festival 16 – 24 September.
As increasing city urbanisation makes private space more and more of a luxury, the demand for multi-purpose communal spaces, co-housing and sharing communities rises – paving the way for brands like MINI LIVING to provide innovative solutions.
MINI LIVING is a long-term research project into the future of urban habitats, exploring how creative use of space through innovative design can support our cities and the needs of the people living in them. It is creative use of space through design that has made the MINI brand so famous since 1959.
For the 15th year of London Design Festival, MINI LIVING has unveiled the URBAN CABIN: a micro-house on Southbank for city dwellers to learn from each other and exchange resources.
URBAN CABIN is a modular structure, designed in the MINI LIVING studio, made from a reflective surface covered with copper mesh, which reflects the rich contrasts of its London surroundings. Sam Jacob Studio was commissioned by MINI LIVING to build two modules which represent London’s Character; a shared kitchen, symbolizing the importance of food markets in modern culture, and a micro-library where visitors are encouraged to share books in a city where the number of public libraries are falling every year. Jacob’s contribution to this project draws upon his expertise in using design to build relationships to make it a place of exchange and bring people together.
The proportion of adults visiting public libraries in England has fallen by almost a third over the last decade. In a bid to resurrect the library as a space to learn, borrow and meet people, a mixture of modern design books and timeless classics reflecting the past 400 years of London life will be in the space’s library. From 20th – 24th September, book lovers will be able to come together to swap personal favourites for London themed books from the last 400 years.
MINI LIVING addresses one of the most pressing challenges of urban living – the shortage of attractive, affordable housing – and offers a potential solution in the form of a modern shared-living concept. “In an increasingly generic urbanised world, we can use design to turn spaces into useful and significant places for the city; places that offer specific local characteristics and functions to create a unique identity on various experiential layers.” says Oke Hauser, Creative Lead of MINI LIVING.
“The mirrored surface of URBAN CABIN is playing with the reflections of its surrounding, while the interior is an interactive space designed to understand and evaluate the personal needs of the London urbanite. It´s crucial to our design process that we truly understand what makes living in this specific city unique” explains Corinna Natter, Experience Designer MINI LIVING.
The collaboration between MINI LIVING and Jacob is based on the idea of London as a city of contrasts between past and present. “I’ve always been interested in combinations, juxtapositions and fusions; in how projects can draw on different references and forge alternative possibilities,” Jacob explains. “Often this means bringing apparent opposites together to create unexpected alliances and design languages. The aim is to open up the possibilities of design while also making reference to the world around us.”
MINI LIVING will present additional URBAN CABIN installations in major global cities in the coming months, the next of which will be unveiled in New York during ‘Archtober’. The URBAN CABIN will be revealed at A/D/O, a space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn dedicated to investigating the role of design in shaping our future. Built for designers yet open to all, A/D/O features a workspace with prototyping facilities, a communal seating area, a design store, a restaurant, as well as range of programming geared towards professional designers, intended to provoke and invigorate various creative practices. The installation at A/D/O will host events and workshops which will focus on the further development of the URBAN CABIN into an inhabitable concept for 2018.
London Design Festival Director Ben Evans explains: “Everyone lives and works somewhere, but most of us rarely think about the spaces and places we inhabit. This landmark project, like all London Design Festival projects, challenges us to pause and consider how design frames and defines our living world.”