London Design Festival 2016: in this exclusive movie produced by Dezeen for MINI, the brand’s Oke Hauser explains why they worked with architect Asif Khan to install plant-filled pavilions across east London.
The aim was to present ideas for how unused public areas could be developed to create shared spaces for people to meet, work and relax outside of their private office or home environments.
“The installation explores a concept called Third Place,” explains Hauser, who was the project manager for Forests.
“It’s not your home, it’s not your workplace, it’s the space in between that you use just for a certain amount of time.”
Each of the pavilions consisted of an aluminium frame clad with translucent polycarbonate plastic and lined with plants, which Hauser says emphasised the semi-public nature of the structures.
“Polycarbonate is an ideal material to communicate this aspect of something private happening in public,” he explains in the film.
“Plants are something that of course everybody has at home. So it’s a nice small element to connect your private space with this shared one.”
Each of the three box-like structures – named Connect, Create and Relax – was designed for a different purpose.
The Relax room was elevated from the ground, requiring visitors to walk up a small hill made from rubber mulch to crawl into it from underneath.
“It is all about zooming out of the city to get a different perspective on things,” Hauser says.
The Connect structure was a corridor-like space featuring a long communal table to encourage people to meet and interact.
“It is all about bringing people together,” Hauser explains. “You can invite your friends and have dinner together, so it’s really about connectivity in a very analogue sense.”
The final pavilion featured reconfigurable bleacher-style seating and power outlets for laptops, tablets and mobile phones.
“The Create space is about bringing people together to have inspirational working moments,” Hauser says.
Following on from an installation by Japanese firm ON design during Milan Design Week this year, Forests is the latest project in the car brand’s ongoing MINI Living initiative, which is exploring potential future solutions for urban living as cities get increasingly crowded and expensive.
Although Khan’s installation is conceptual, Hauser says that the issues it attempts to address are real.
“Architecture right now – and especially development – is stuck on quite old solutions from the last century that are very static and inflexible,” he says.
“This installation is about creating inspiration. It’s a way to think about what the future could look like and how we could activate leftover space as extensions of our private space. That’s what the MINI Living installation is all about.”
MINI Forests was open to the public during the London Design Festival from 17 to 25 September 2016.
This movie was filmed by Dezeen in London for MINI. The music featured is by Dutch artist Y’Skid.
Dezeen is currently collaborating with the car brand on our Most Loved video series celebrating design objects that have found a special place in people’s hearts.
You can watch all the movies on our YouTube playlist:
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