Next Stop Shanghai: MINI LIVING 2019


Our world is centered around cities—but as these urban centers boom, we’re increasingly faced with issues related to space, pollution, and overpopulation. MINI LIVING has been working to address these things by proposing new ways of living in metropolises around the globe.

We visited the most recent edition in Beijing, a 15-square-meter micro-home inspired by the theme of reflection designed by MINI LIVING in collaboration with local architecture studio Penda. This was the fourth iteration of the Urban Cabin project, which aims to connect urban centers around the globe—thus far, IGNANT has visited Urban Cabins in Los Angeles and Beijing—and to explore possible modes and expressions of living. This program moves from speculative to actuality with the next phase of the program in Shanghai, launching in 2019.

The project aims to rethink the form that life takes in urban spaces by transforming an unused industrial complex in Shanghai’s Jing’An district into a multilayered offering of apartments, workspaces and cultural and leisure centers. The city itself is a complex place, which was one of the reasons that MINI LIVING sought to build their first location there. The Creative Lead of MINI LIVING, Oke Hauser, explains that Shanghai, “a place of ongoing rapid urbanization”, that “also faces challenges like rising rents, high urban density and a mismatch between the offerings of the existing housing market and the way people really want to live in a city.” This is where the project comes in, “We wanted to contribute an inspiring concept to the cityscape, a concept challenging conventions, breaking down existing walls and most importantly connecting people with each other”, Hauser tells us.

The experimental living spaces pictured below will inform the design approach of the new project in Shanghai, as Hauser explains: “All of the concepts we’ve developed over the past few years will come to life in our first co-living hub which is opening May next year in Shanghai. At the moment we are transforming an unused paint factory into places to live, work and play. And it is only the first to come.” The project will culminate in a space that is at once public and private, continuing the investigation of what Hauser terms, “a big life on a small footprint”.


MINI LIVING Urban Cabin – Beijing, China 2018

A fully functional 15-square-meter micro home inspired by the theme of ‘Reflection’. Created with local architecture firm, Penda, this flexible, inhabitable space inspired by the rich architectural history of the city. The cabin itself explores the traditional living format of the Hutong: a form of a courtyard residence that combines private and public space together.

Image © Clara Renner for IGNANT Production


MINI LIVING Urban Cabin – LA, USA 2018

Installed on a rooftop of ROW DTLA overlooking Los Angeles, the this Urban Cabin comprised of three sections: FreelandBuck’s colorful central intervention flanked by two outer modules designed by MINI LIVING—the bedroom on one side, and the kitchen and bathroom on the other.

Image ©  Laurian Ghinitoiu, courtesy of MINI LIVING


MINI LIVING Urban Cabin – New York, USA 2017

A model iridescent micro-home built in collaboration with local firm Bureau V at A/D/O, a design hub by MINI that is facilitating creative exchange in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. This reflective cabin was a nod to the vibrant streetscape of New York.



MINI LIVING Urban Cabin – London, UK 2017

An urban cabin designed from materials that reference the surrounding buildings, and with a concept that reflects the rich history of London. Featuring a micro-library and more, the design aimed to visualize London’s “cultural differences and traditions, but also modern habits that are very typical for the city”, explained Corinna Natter, designer MINI LIVING. 

Image ©  Tom Donald Build by Aldworth James & Bond, courtesy of  MINI LIVING

Header image © Daniel Chen for IGNANT Production

In collaboration with MINI LIVING


SCENT by AOIRO x Ignant

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