For the one-off creation titled “MINI STRIP”, the British designer reduces the vehicle to its vital elements — ridding the design of any unnecessary extras with an unfinished, exposed aesthetic. Instead of colored paint, a thin transparent layer is added to protect it against corrosion. Factory marks are also left on the galvanized steel to give it a raw look as Paul Smith describes it, “The perfect imperfection.”
The car’s signature black band as well as its front and rear apron inserts are crafted from 3D-printed recycled plastic with its structural basics such as its metal panels left on-show. Speaking on his take of the iconic British car, Paul Smith says, “I know and love the existing car, but by respecting the past and looking to the future we have created something very special.”
Working closely with the MINI Design Team to create this unique vehicle, its sustainability-led design moves onto its interior with the body shell being its dominant feature. Adopting a blue color palette for a bold first impression, it’s free from both leather and chrome, with seats upholstered in a knitted fabric. The seat covers themselves are crafted from 100% recyclable materials, rounded off with recycled rubber floor mats boasting a terrazzo pattern, the by-product of its manufacturing process.
Its dashboard, door shoulders and parcel shelf are all crafted from soft-touch recycled cork with the door handles constructed from wound-climbing rope — a unique touch to a revolutionary design. The dashboard arrives in a semi-transparent smoked glass finish and without a typical center console, the driver’s smartphone replaces the free space and doubles up as the media control of the car.
The collaborative project marries both entities’ penchant for functional and progressive design as Oliver Heilmer, head of the MINI Design Team explains, “For me, the MINI STRIP shows in an impressive way that MINI and Paul Smith share the same bold way of thinking about the future in terms of innovation and design — and together we create more. Paul asked essential questions right at the start of the design process with his non-automotive and therefore fresh perspective. We are proud to have developed such a strong character statement together.”
Check out the detailed shots of the car in the gallery above. Alternatively, for more information on the Paul Smith Mini Cooper SE “MINI STRIP” vehicle, visit the brand’s website.