Mini has teamed up with fashion designer Paul Smith to create a one-off, scaled-back model that prioritises sustainability above all else, based on its ‘Electric’ hatchback.
Called the Mini Strip, the brand took a back-to-basics approach, which focused – as its name implies – on stripping back anything that’s not totally necessary.
Starting with a Mini Electric, the car was left in its unfinished state, with the only paint applied being a thin film that protects the car from corrosion. Grinding marks on the steel panels also remain, something Smith calls a “perfect imperfection”. Recycled Perspex has also been used – most notably for the panoramic roof, along with for the grille trim and wheel covers.
Elements of Paul Smith’s bold use of colours include five stripes in the shell of the door, along with a neon green charging flap.
But it’s the interior where things become especially minimalist, with just about all interior trim removed and leaving the car’s bare shell exposed. The usual large touchscreen in the centre has been ripped out, leaving just an area to keep a smartphone.
A host of recycled materials have also been introduced to the cabin, which notably is free of all leather and chrome. The seats and mats are both fully recyclable, while cork features prominently on the dashboard, door cars and parcel shelf. Mini says this material could ‘provide a substitute for foamed plastics in the future’ thanks to its firmness and soft feel.
Even the steering wheel has been stripped back and wrapped in the same tape you’d find on a road bike – a nod to Smith’s love of cycling – while the pull handles for the doors are made from orange climbing rope and help to add a splash of colour to the car’s interior.
The Strip continues Mini’s long-running partnership with Paul Smith, which dates back to the 1990s when the two icons developed a limited-run version of the classic Mini, painted in a shade of Blue designed by Smith.
Speaking of the latest model, Smith said: “I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to rethink the iconic Mini. I know and love the existing car, but by respecting the past and looking to the future we have created something very special.
“I feel very privileged that the Mini team has given me the confidence and freedom to think laterally about the approach to the design of the car. Together, I think we have created something truly unique, by going back to basics, reducing things down and stripping the car.”
Though the Mini Strip will remain as a concept, the British firm says it can be used as a ‘catalyst for more sustainable use of resources in automotive design’.