MINI recently celebrated the world premiere of the MINI Strip, a custom-made, one-off model created in collaboration with British fashion house Paul Smith.
According to MINI, the car showcases inspirational ideas for a more sustainable method of automotive design.
Based on the MINI Electric
As the name suggests, the process began by completely stripping down the MINI Electric and reducing it to its structural essence.
The body was left in its unfinished state with no coloured paint applied, but instead just a thin film of transparent paint to protect against corrosion.
Grinding marks from the factory have been consciously left intact on the galvanised steel panels to clearly identify the car as a functional object. This effect was dubbed “the perfect imperfection” by Paul Smith it seems.
Parts of the MINI black band have been 3D-printed from recycled plastic and their basic material qualities have been left exposed – like the metal panels.
The functional and distinctive front and rear apron inserts were also manufactured via a 3D printing process, which produced their striking texture.
The blanked-off radiator grille of the MINI Strip and its wheel covers help to reduce drag, thereby increasing its theoretical range.
The grille trim and aerodynamic covers on the wheels are made from recycled Perspex, saving 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.
Inside, all trim parts have been purposefully omitted (with the exception of the dashboard, topper pad and parcel shelf), turning the bodyshell into the dominant visual feature of the cabin.
It has been coloured blue at the explicit request of Paul Smith, producing a particularly eye-catching effect.
The exposed, basic material and intense blue tone give the interior an aesthetic appeal all of its own; it is bare yet feels “dressed” at the same time.
Instead of the usual multi-part design, the dashboard consists of one large, semi-transparent section with a smoked-glass finish.
Phone takes centre stage inside
There is no classic centre instrument, 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 becomes the media control centre.
The only physical controls in the interior are located lower in the centre stack, where the toggle switches for the power windows and the start/stop function can be found.
The interior is free of both leather and chrome, with the seats upholstered in a knitted fabric. The completely mono-material design for the seat coverings means they are fully recyclable – including the piping – allowing material circularity to be maintained.
Recycled rubber floor mats
The floor mats are made from recycled rubber with their terrazzo-like pattern a by-product of the recycling and manufacturing process, positively showcasing the multi-coloured constituent elements enjoying a second life as part of this material.
The dashboard topper pad, door shoulders and parcel shelf are made from recycled cork which doesn’t contain synthetic binding agents – ensuring it’s fully recyclable.
A small, fabric Paul Smith label in the one o’clock position is one of the pointers to the collaboration that can be found in the interior.
Mesh door panels
The door panels are made from the same mesh material that covers the airbag, enabling the door structure to be clearly seen behind the mesh panels, which are held within a frame.
The transparency of the knitted mesh changes according to the angle of view, adding a further dimension to the interior’s appearance.
The pull handles in the door shoulders are made from wound climbing rope and, together with the matching seat belts, liven up the interior with their bright orange finish.
Like the pull handles, the door openers in milled aluminium are housed in the cork door shoulders and provide a high-class finishing touch for the door area.