Just like the French sailboat “the Louis Vuitton Foundation” designed by Frank Gehry, whose body made by the designer is a microcosm of the world, it enables human beings to establish a direct and powerful connection with nature. One space is one world”. The universe is a world with all human beings as the reference, while the 280-metre-square Sustainable mini space located in Pozi Street in Changsha is the world of “MINI”.

Project Name: MINI Urban Exhibition Hall,Changsha
Project Location: Changsha, Hunan
Total floor space: 280 square meters
Designer: ARCHIHOPE Ltd.(UK & SZ)
Firm website:archihope.com
Chief Designer: Hihope Zhu
Deepening Design Team: Jane Fang, Chang Xu
Main materials: perforated aluminum plate, terrazzo, oriented strand board, cement
coatings, mirror stainless steel, etc
Construction unit: Huanghua Construction
Photographer: Vincent Wu

MINI Urban Exhibition Hall by ARCHIHOPE - Sheet5
©Vincent Wu

As the first urban exhibition hall of MINI in China, the brand’s appeal is to combine the regional advantages and the sustainable development concept trend of BMW Group to build an exhibition hall that publicizes the brand spirit.

MINI Urban Exhibition Hall by ARCHIHOPE - Sheet7
©Vincent Wu

Based on its own design strategy advantage of being environmental-friendly and sustainable and rooted in the brand spirit concept, ARCHIHOPE broke through the tradition to build a differentiated shopping mall car showroom, captured the anchor of the times and combined geographical advantages to create a pun inclusive “MINI world” with environment-friendly materials and design techniques.

Located in the “Yunxi Chaohui” in Pozi Street, Wuyi Square, Changsha, the commercial complex is oriented to the young, which is a pioneer cultural and creative complex integrating commercial retail, office, residence and art exhibition.

MINI Urban Exhibition Hall by ARCHIHOPE - Sheet8
©Vincent Wu

However, the Wuyi Square, which has always been famous for its nightlife and strong flavor of life, has a unique cyberpunk sense of the integration of tradition and the future. How to stand out in the environment without incongruity, ARCHIHOPE has given a perfect answer.

“We are all different, but pretty good together.”This is the unique attitude of MINI brand all the time, pursuing differentiation and establishing the brand’s external image with trend, freedom and breakthrough.

This is a “MINI” exhibition hall with two entrances embedded in a glass box. The “customer entrance” is the main entrance in the mall, and the “MINI exhibition hall entrance” is the entrance in the outer street. The reception desk and sales office are located on the left side of the shopping mall near the customer entrance. In the middle of the exhibition hall is the customer negotiation area, behind which is a wall for MINI owners to share travel photos.

Whether in the past 1953 or the present 2022, MINI, which has always been famous for “trendy products” in any era, is obviously out of tune with the current similar style of shopping mall car showrooms. Based on its brand culture, the design team provides customers with a differentiated experience different from the conventional shopping mall showrooms, and focuses on highlighting the display of products rather than the showroom space. This requires precise control of details, such as the lighting wattage that meets the needs of fully illuminating the products without chromatic aberration.

MINI Urban Exhibition Hall by ARCHIHOPE - Sheet9
©Vincent Wu

The vestibule facade of exhibition hall space is made of environmentally friendly art paint, while the rear is paved with environmentally friendly material oriented strand board. Different interfaces are divided by lamp belts, which is environmentally friendly with a good physical character and take into account aesthetics at the same time. It is a manifestation of practical significance and an interpretation of the future vision to integrate the concept of green and sustainable development into the space and put the concept into practice.

The tracks weaving their ways through the space and whirling around give the space a powerful dynamic sense, which is the concrete carrier of the brand’s core concept. It externalizes MINI’s spiritual pursuit of “freedom”, but the tracks that seem to shuttle freely are actually carefully designed.

“At the early stage of design, we need to simulate whether the model of cars moving in the exhibition hall conflicts with the tracks. And how to make the tracks ‘free’ in the exhibition hall without affecting the car moving line is also one of the difficulties in design.”

Considering the huge single volume of “MINI car”, the moving line in the exhibition hall needs to ensure that cars can move flexibly in it, so the design of height and direction of the tracks are limited, and the visual effect brought about by the tracks should also be taken into account.

The natural rhythm poured into the space creates a more friendly atmosphere. The design orientation of the “urban exhibition hall” expands its audience, causes emotional links besides commercial links, and enables people to understand the spirit of the brand in the dialogue with the exhibition hall.

“MINI’s spirit is more like a friend of yours. Although it is small, it can accompany you anywhere, amiable, kind and friendly.”

©Vincent Wu

The urban culture and natural landscape blend in the mini “glass box”. The staggered cut elevations create conceptual mountains. Shuttle in the world of MINI, travel across mountains and rivers, seek forests, and you will freely stretch your perception in the glass box to the vast world.

Space builds a world inwards and integrates itself into the environment outwards. On the basis of highlighting the characteristics of the brand gene, ARCHIHOPE adds spiritual symbols to the brand. Although the space is mini, it is enough to accommodate a world. The quiet flow of natural melody and the leap of urban trend elements collide with the intertwining of time and space, allowing the spirit of MINI to gallop freely.

Author

Rethinking The Future (RTF) is a Global Platform for Architecture and Design. RTF through more than 100 countries around the world provides an interactive platform of highest standard acknowledging the projects among creative and influential industry professionals.

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