A project motivated by a shared passion for the future of sustainable design, the MINI STRIP is our most ambitious collaboration with designer Paul Smith to date. Together, we devised three key themes – transparency, simplicity and sustainability – and used them as a basis for reimagining everything a MINI could be. The result is a unique to automotive sustainability that’s as one-of-a-kind as its maverick co-creator.
To Paul, simplicity lies at the heart of sustainable design: “Maybe in the future, we’ll not need lots of gadgets in our car. If we added less and used recycled and recyclable materials, then it would create a more sustainable world.”
The name ‘MINI STRIP’ is a direct reference to this simplicity and the effect it had on the design process. Adhering to the classic design principles ‘less is more’ and ‘form follows function’, we stripped a MINI Cooper SE back to its bare essence before reassembling it using only its most essential components. This reduction resulted in a minimalist car with a fresh and unusual design that still retains a premium appeal.
While the raw, paint-free exterior of the MINI STRIP is instantly eye-catching, many of Paul Smith’s boldest design choices lie in the interior. Back in 1959, car designer Sir Alec Issigonis reimagined how a vehicle’s interior space could be used, and in doing so, created the iconic classic MINI . Today, by holding true to the themes of ‘simplicity’ and ‘transparency’,
Paul has applied a similar process to the MINI STRIP. The number of physical controls is significantly reduced, and notably, the classic centre instrument is absent. Basic materials are also left deliberately exposed, giving the interior an aesthetic appeal all of its own – bare and yet ‘dressed’ simultaneously.
The MINI STRIP’S paired back interior and exterior isn’t the start or end of our creative process. Paul also looked at every material used in its creation through the lens of sustainability. As a result, recycled, recyclable and renewable primary products are essential parts of the MINI STRIP’S design. And of course, because it wouldn’t be a Paul Smith collaboration without at least a few playful details, the steering wheel is wrapped in bicycle tape instead of leather – a wry nod to Paul’s favorite mode of transport…after his all-electric MINI.