The Mini Strip is a one-off project built in conjunction with renowned fashion icon Paul Smith that has been designed to showcase an array of sustainable design techniques. This collaboration between these two British icons was announced in November last year and is the result of months of design and development.
The design of the Mini Strip was approached with the issue of sustainability within automotive manufacturing in mind. As a result, Mini and Paul Smith were guided by the overarching theme of “Simplicity, Transparency, Sustainability”. Based off the all-electric Mini Cooper SE, the project showcases inspirational ideas for a more sustainable method of automotive design.
Raw materials have been applied to the exterior of the Mini Strip. This means the body was left in its unfinished state with no coloured paint applied. Instead, a thin film of transparent paint has been applied to protect the surface against corrosion. Grinding marks from the factory have been left intact on the galvanised steel panels to clearly identify the car as a functional object and robust companion for everyday life. This intentionally rough-hewn effect was also dubbed “the perfect imperfection” by Paul Smith.
Select trimmings on the Mini Strip are 3D-printed from recycled plastic and their basic material qualities have been left exposed, like the metal panels. The visible screws seen throughout the body are inspired by road bike designs and displays how simple dismantling would be and how easily the vehicle could be reincorporated into the raw-material cycle at the end of its service life. The functional and distinctive front and rear apron inserts were manufactured in a 3D printing process as well.
The blanked-off radiator grille and wheel covers of the Mini Strip help to reduce drag thereby increasing its claimed range. The grille trim and aerodynamic covers on the wheels are made from recycled Perspex that saves both weight and resources. Recycled Perspex was also used for the large panoramic roof that allows curious eyes to view the largely bare structure of the bodyshell inside.
All trim parts within the cabin of the Mini Strip have been purposefully removed with the exception of the dashboard, topper pad and parcel shelf. This turns the bodyshell into the dominant visual feature of the cabin. It has been coloured with a blue shade to produce an eye-catching effect.
Instead of the usual multi-part design, the dashboard consists solely of a large, semi-transparent section with a smoked-glass finish. Taking its cue from the brand design’s traditional use of circular elements, the geometry has been greatly simplified with a far more graphical interpretation.
As a result, the centre instrument cluster has been removed, leaving the driver’s smartphone to take centre stage instead. It is placed where the centre display would normally be, connects automatically to the car and, in so doing, becomes the media control centre. The only physical controls in the interior are located lower down in the centre stack, where the toggle switches for the power windows and the start/stop function can be found.