More people than ever are living within a shrinking footprint. For devitalized downtowns and struggling historic centers, this can be good news.
In an up-and-coming area of Shanghai‘s well-developed Jing’An district in the center of the city, a cluster of six old industrial buildings will be repurposed as a vibrant new urban neighborhood.
One of the component projects is called MINI LIVING is addressing the challenges of creating livable urban density by creating the first co-living project in China.
BMW China‘s MINI LIVING group is working with Chinese project developer Nova Property Investment Company to transform the abandoned industrial complex in the historic Jing’An district into a multi-layered co-living facility comprising apartments, working spaces and cultural/leisure offerings.
Launched in 2016, MINI LIVING has explored new kinds of living concepts which seek to maximise quality of life within minimal spaces – all in keeping with the brand’s “Creative Use of Space” motto.
The project in Shanghai sees MINI translating the concept idea encapsulated by its previous installations into an actual building project for the first time. A former paint factory will be transformed into an urban hotspot with generous space for working, interaction and living.
The MINI LIVING idea is “we get more when we share“, and it applies not only to the building’s residents but those of the city as a whole: parts of the MINI LIVING complex will be accessible to the wider public.
“MINI has always been an urban brand. It not only has its finger on the pulse of the city, it injects that pulse with extra energy,” explains Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for MINI, Rolls-Royce, BMW Motorrad, Customer Experience and Digital Business Innovation BMW Group.
“At MINI we are also well versed in the intelligent use of space; back in 1959 the classic Mini was already maximising the experience available within a very small footprint. MINI LIVING brings this know-how from the vehicles we drive into the places where we live. We are rethinking the idea of living space in the city and developing attractive, need-oriented living concepts. Our aim here is to offer an extremely high quality of life within an extremely small area,” he continued.
The MINI LIVING project in Shanghai is based on an innovative co-living concept. MINI LIVING will become a home for singles, sharers and families on short, medium-term and extended tenancies. The design and therefore the character of the apartment interiors is international, modern and clean, and features references to the history of Shanghai.
However, living in an apartment that occupies only a small surface area in no way means going without. Anything that doesn’t fit inside the apartments (activities or objects) can be accommodated in the adjacent spaces.
MINI LIVING offers room to experience community as well. Generously sized lobbies provide an excellent place to just hang out, while exhibition areas and a food market invite a closer look. The available facilities also include gardens, play areas, shops and restaurants, which people living elsewhere in Shanghai will be welcome to access too.
MINI LIVING is keen to promote social interaction, not only among the residents themselves but with people from other parts of the city. After all, one of the key aims of MINI LIVING is to bring people together and encourage shared experiences.
“With MINI LIVING we’re looking to create a genuine alternative within the rental market of big cities,” says Esther Bahne, Head of MINI Brand Strategy and Business Innovation. “We’re offering a place that can adapt to its residents, is flexible and allows room to breathe.
MINI LIVING gives residents their privacy, but also enables them to engage with a variety of different people. It makes those first steps into a new city that much smoother. The idea is that our residents really feel at home here.”
In addition to the space itself, the project also comprises additional services that can be accessed digitally. For example, residents can make restaurant reservations, book room cleaning and service, order food and rent mobility options. So MINI LIVING not only demonstrates how space can be used in an intelligent way, it also offers scope for individualization and a range of digital services.
The work to repurpose and renew the old paint factory is slated to begin before the end of 2017.
All images courtesy of BMW China.