The famous car brand MINI and legendary British fashion designer Paul Smith collaborated on an iconic, custom-made car, the MINI STRIP. The model is based on the MINI Cooper SE, the concept car has been created to both highlight the sustainable opportunities open to current automotive manufacturers and designers, as well as to inspire further ecologically-minded changes in the industry.
The striking vehicle is packed with several design changes and alterations, while the overall ethos is defined by a three-word mantra: simplicity, transparency, sustainability. As the concept car’s name suggests, MINI and Paul Smith completely stripped back the design of the MINI STRIP, reducing it to its functional elements and structural essence. These aspects were in turn defined, redefined and then implemented in close collaboration between Paul Smith and the MINI design team – a project that started back in November 2020.
“Paul asked essential questions right at the start of the design process with his non-automotive and therefore fresh perspective,” explained Oliver Heilmer, Head of MINI Design. The designer’s inquiring questions, together with his passion for simple details contrasting with bold, strong colours—as exemplified through his iconic stripe motifs – played out well in the final result.
On the exterior, raw materials were deliberately left unfinished, with only a thin layer of transparent paint added to protect against corrosion. Instead, grinding marks and traces of the materials’ manufacture history were consciously left intact on the metalwork. Inside, sustainability was the main focus, with recycled, environmentally-friendly fabrics and materials used throughout the vehicle (the interior is completely free of leather and chrome).
A similar transparent approach as outside resulted in a minimalist, pared-down, yet highly stylised aesthetic on the inside. Knitted mesh on the doors and steering wheel contrast with the recycled cork used for the dashboard topper pad, parts of the doors and parcel shelf, while the overall blue finish is eye-catching yet soothing, underscoring perfectly the reduced design of the interior.
The MINI STRIP from MINI and Paul Smith debuted in London earlier this month, where it is still showcased. But if you can’t make it, check out our images for a closer look at the car.
Here’s hoping it doesn’t just stay a concept, so we can all get one!