Although the Salone del Mobile, which is being held in Milan, sounds as though it might have something to do with the auto industry, and although MINI is hosting an exhibit there, translated it means “furniture expo.” No, it’s not about mobility.
That said, the MINI installation, which it worked with London-based architectural firm Studiomama to execute, is interesting from the point of view that it is based on MINI’s own approach, the “creative use of space.”
The installation is called “MINI LIVING—BUILT BY ALL.” It is predicated on the idea of small living spaces (15 to 20 square meters) that are individualized in terms of such factors as floor plan and color scheme. The notion is urban living that is individualized, not cookie-cuttered.
Explains Oke Hauser, creative lead at MINI LIVING, “Today’s standardized housing market is limited in its ability to meet the requirements of the individual. So MINI LIVING – BUILT BY ALL turns people into active creators and puts them at the heart of the design process. We believe that ultimately the quality of a living space is determined by how well the residents identify with their home.”
The setup in Milan is executed within an old factory hall in the Zona Tortona neighborhood. The housing space integrates the pillars and struts of the factory into the overall design. An idea is to show how what otherwise be ignored space can become useful within the urban environment.
MINI’s approach here isn’t theoretical. The vehicle manufacturer established MINI LIVING as an active initiative to address architectural issues, particularly in cities. They are establishing a multiuse complex in Shanghai that is planned to open in 2019.
Whereas vehicle manufacturers might have once been able to focus entirely on their specific products, with increased urbanization, addressing the broader needs of customers is now almost a requirement.
A Vietnamese start-up auto company is doing what it name implies: VinFast Manufacturing and Trading Company Limited is going exceedingly fast in vehicle development.
Although the term “continuous improvement” is generally associated with another company, Honda is certainly pursuing that approach, as is evidenced by the Accord, which is now in its ninth generation.
A young(ish) guy that I’ve known for a number of years, a man who spent the better part of his career writing for auto buff books and who is a car racer on the side, mentioned to me that his wife has a used Lexus ES Hybrid.