MINI Living and Studiomama's Milan installation allowed "everyone to become an architect"

In our latest Dezeen x MINI Living movie, architect Oke Hauser and designer Nina Tolstrup explain how MINI's Milan design week installation let visitors design their own micro homes.

Called MINI Living – Built by All, the show at Via Tortona showcased a conceptual modular system for creating tiny customisable living spaces.

MINI Living - Built by All

Split between two former warehouses, the first part of the exhibition enabled visitors to create a model of their personalised home using a standard kit of parts.

Visitors could use an assortment of coloured blocks to create a central integrated furniture and storage unit – called a totem – which they could surround with various exterior shells to create a private living space.

"At the so-called Factory of Ideas, everybody is able to easily configure their own apartment in a model scale and basically design his or her own MINI Living unit," MINI Living's creative lead Hauser explains in the video.

"We thought, what would the world look like if everybody could become an architect just for a day?"

MINI Living - Built by All

The second part of the installation presented four possible configurations of the capsule homes at full-scale, which were situated within a larger communal area featuring shared facilities such as a gym, kitchen and cinema.

"We have four private living units with different configurations of storage, seating and working facilities," explains Tolstrup, co-founder of Studiomama, which worked with MINI Living on the project.

"It's possible to customise them for your needs. With a few simple elements, you can create extremely different experiences."

MINI Living - Built by All

To demonstrate the adaptability of the modular system, MINI Living and Studiomama configured each of the four spaces for a different imaginary character – a music producer, a pattern cutter, a pottery collector and a botanical illustrator.

"I think that customisation is a great thing," Tolstrup says. "Our lifestyles change all the time, so it's interesting to think about furniture that is made to last but can travel with you through the transformation that life is."

MINI Living - Built by All

MINI Living – Built by All was MINI's third installation at Milan design week since the car brand launched its MINI Living project in 2016, following previous designs by SO-IL and On Design.

While the modular system presented at the installation was purely conceptual, Hauser says the brand is serious about developing customisable housing solutions.

MINI Living's first permanent architecture project is currently being built in Shanghai, and Hauser says that residents will be able to personalise certain elements of the living spaces within it.

MINI Living - Built by All

"We are interested in creating homes, and to really create a sense of home, you should be integrated in designing the space," he says.

"So we're going to take these lessons and next year in April in Shanghai we're going to open a real building where you can live, work and of course have fun in. Even if you stay there for a short time, you will feel at home because you will be integrated in part of the design of the space you're living in."

MINI Living - Built by All

This movie was filmed by Dezeen in Milan for MINI Living. It is part of our Dezeen x MINI Living series, an initiative that explores how design can contribute to a brighter urban future.