When European automotive model MINI requested clothier Paul Smith to collaborate on a one-off model of the Cooper SE to have fun the discharge of the brand new electrical mannequin, they obtained an unexpectedly minimalist end result within the type of the MINI STRIP. Utilizing the guiding ideas of “simplicity, transparency, [and] sustainability,” Smith pared again each doable element within the automotive’s inside and exterior to make “an announcement about rethinking sustainability in a extra lateral approach.”
The style designer began with a visit to Munich, the place he had requested MINI prematurely “to utterly strip out a automotive and acquire the supplies which can be recycled and recyclable.” Smith mentioned that this offered “a giant listing of assorted objects, from bins of rope to the seat cowl and extra. This stripped out automotive was so attractive inside. It simply had nothing in it. I assumed that it was beautiful this manner and questioned why don’t we preserve the MINI as near this naked essence as doable.”
MINI’s head of design Oliver Heilmer was pleased with Smith’s path from the outset. He explains that “for me, the MINI STRIP exhibits in a formidable approach that MINI and Paul Smith share the identical daring mind-set in regards to the future by way of innovation and design – and collectively we create extra. Paul requested important questions proper in the beginning of the design course of together with his non-automotive, and due to this fact recent, perspective.”
The minimalist MINI STRIP has an unpainted physique that boasts solely a clear protecting coat, leaving the grinding marks from the manufacturing course of seen to spotlight the “good imperfection.” Smith additionally left screws uncovered on the wheel arches and on the steering wheel for an “necessities solely” look. The blue-coated inside covers electrical wires loosely with mesh, permitting entry to them as wanted.
And something that he changed, Smith tried to substitute with recycled or recyclable supplies. The entrance and rear bumpers have been constructed from 3D printed reprocessed plastic, whereas the wheel covers, grill trim, and clear roof have been made out of recycled Perspex. As an alternative of using leather-based, the seats are lined in a knitted cloth composed of reconditioned fibers, and the ground mats come from reused rubber. The dashboard and doorways acquired an analogous therapy in sustainable cork.
“One of many parts that we’re actually happy with is the usage of the cork. Cork, as you realize, could be extracted with out killing the tree. Then, whenever you truly mildew the fabric, its pure sap turns into the glue, and so, it realizes in a really natural methodology,” Smith provides.
The designer stored the aluminum door handles but additionally added pull handles made out of shiny orange climbing rope for the “make-do” aesthetic. He additionally ditched the buttons and switches of the steering wheel, masking the middle with mesh to reveal the airbag and wrapping the rim in handlebar tape.
The automotive’s iconic heart console was eliminated and changed with an area for a smartphone to offer all crucial data. The one electrical controls remaining are the beginning/cease button and the window switches.
Smith says the MINI STRIP nonetheless represents luxurious in its personal approach, noting that “the entire idea of luxurious may be very totally different. it has modified drastically within the final 20 years; it’s now all about perspective… as a creator it’s a matter of being assured to experiment.”
He provides that “it’s a approach of valuing issues that aren’t normally valued. It’s the precept of creating good and getting by.”