The dynamics of deceleration

March 2015

MINI & Jaime Hayon at Salone del Mobile, Milan, Italy, 14-19 April.
Size is not everything, as MINI and Jaime Hayon aim to demonstrate at this year's Salone del Mobile in Milan. Urban Perspectives is a mobility concept for now, in which technology, craft, fashion, and design form a coherent and joyful whole.

Vehicles are more than rolling objects. They also embody an attitude. Especially two-wheelers. While the owners of fast racing bikes succumb to the thrill of speed, other people master the urban jungle with manoeuvrable scooters. A third variant is currently being tested in MINI: the Citysurfer, a concept for the millennium. “You leave your car outside the urban centre and continue the journey in an electrically driven roller”, proclaims Anders Warming, Head of MINI Design.  

While standing on a surface that glides along directly above ground level, arrival and departure are effortless. The drivers are not decoupled from urban life, but permanently related to it. At a speed of 25 km/h, the roller reaches a range of 25 kilometres with a single charge. Flexibility also allows for the vehicle to be folded and stowed in the boot of the car. 

First presented at the LA Auto Show last November, the Citysurfer concept is not just quiet and environmentally friendly, it is also intended to act at a particularly emotional level. To achieve this, MINI brought Jaime Hayon on board, who merged creative disciplines. “I wanted to oppose the technical aspects with a sensual element”, the Spanish designer says, describing his approach. Prior to the Salone, colour palettes and material samples were displayed inside the top-secret MINI design headquarters in Munich – combined with several sketches and early prototypes. 

To make the roller “more Hayonic”, as the designer says, different material mixes and surface patterns were tested. The proposals resulted in two design concepts: one focuses on elegance, with surfaces of anodised aluminium, copper, and high quality leather; the other version is covered in wild, dazzling patterns that alternate in a charming manner between Op Art and zebra camouflage. Specially developed helmets look like comical diving bells. Two jackets, one of them densely covered in pockets, were custom-made by a Milanese tailor in accordance with Hayon's plan. 

“Cooperation with creatives from various disciplines is an important format for us, enabling us to view car design from another angle”, explains Anders Warming. A fresh perspective is the motif behind the Urban Perspectives presentation at the Salone. Jaime Hayon reaches deep into his bag of tricks to obtain surreal effects. A stylised street made of white Carrara marble winds its way through the space, while playful brass lamps and mirrored Murano glass surfaces reflect the shapes of traffic signs, dominating the surroundings. It’s clear that small things sometimes turn out to be quite large.

Urban Perspectives is at the Laboratorio Bergognone, Via Bergognone 26, Milan, from 14 to 19 April 2015. (no website)

Prior to the Salone, colour palettes and material samples were displayed inside the top-secret MINI design headquarters in Munich.
Key image Mini by Jaime Hayon
Specially developed helmets look like comical diving bells.
This article appeared in DAM49. Order your personal copy.