BMW has worked with designers and artists for years to modify and shape existing vehicles. The MINI STRIP is now the British fashion designer Paul Smith’s creation.
MINI STRIP’s philosophy is very simple: strip an all electric MINI Cooper SE to its bare metal inside and out. Then, redesign any parts necessary and return them to the car. Smith had a single philosophy about the car: “Simplicity. Transparency. Sustainability.” Sustainability was the most important aspect.
“I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to rethink the iconic MINI,” he says. “I know and love the existing car, but by respecting the past and looking to the future we have created something very special. I feel very privileged that the MINI team have given me the confidence and freedom to think laterally about the approach to the design of the car. Together I think we have created something truly unique, by going back to basics, reducing things down and stripping the car.”
Smith wanted to highlight the car’s imperfections and subtle flaws, including machine scratches from the assembly and exposed screws holding the black paneling onto the body. It was a “perfect imperfection”, which Smith called it. The idea was to demonstrate that the car can be used as both a functional object or as a companion. Smith is a keen cyclist and loves to fix up his bikes. To show how easy the panels can be removed and how bicycle riders can replace them while riding, the screws were left exposed. The panels are also easily removed and can be recycled, which shows how sustainable the car is.
Recycled materials also played a large part in the exterior of the MINI Strip. The aerodynamic grille trim is made from recycled Perspex, as are the darkened aerodynamic wheel covers, and even the panoramic sunroof. The latter of which saves weight compared to glass, as well.
It was crucial to use sustainable materials inside. The cabin is free of leathers and chrome. All materials are also recycled. Both the seats and floormats made of knitted fabric are recycled rubber. The pattern is terrazzo-like, with different colors highlighting the recycling. Recycled cork is used in the dashboard, upper doors panels and parcel shelf.
The latter of which is actually very important. MINI, as well as other automakers, are looking to cork as a suitable material to replace plastics with inside cars. Not only is cork sustainable and recyclable, its soft nature makes it pleasing to the touch. Additionally, cork helps to offset CO2 emissions, therefor helping a vehicle’s production become carbon neutral.
The MINI STRIP’s steering wheel was also modified. The MINI STRIP now has three spokes made of aluminum and a rim covered in the same tape that is used to wrap bicycle handle bars. You can see the airbag through a mesh cover. The steering wheel is easily disassembled and the screws are visible to show how it can be recycled.
Additionally, the door panels are covered in the same mesh fabric as the airbag, allowing you to actually see the door construction underneath. The door pulls were replaced with wound climber’s rope and the door handles are made from aluminum and housed in the upper part of the door panel, made from cork.
The MINI STRIP’s unpainted panels make it look very grey. There are a few pops of color throughout the MINI STRIP. The exposed wheel arch screws in green are used, while the charge port door, which features a drawing by Smith, is more colorful once it’s opened. Also, the pulls on the interior doors are orange.
The MINI STRIP is one of the most unique and interesting car collaborations the BMW Group has ever done. In fact, it might be the most ambitious and exciting one we’ve ever seen. Rather than just paint a few designs on the outside, this MINI STRIP is a total re-think of what a sustainable electric car can be.
Publiated at Thu, 12 August 2021 16:52:40 +0000