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Mini Living: A building for urban house-share in Shanghai

This is what the Mini Living Complex is about to look like. Photo: BMW Group

As urbanisation continues to gather pace, attractive living spaces in large cities are becoming increasingly sparse. Indeed, more people than ever are living within a shrinking footprint. With Mini Living, Mini is addressing these developments and creating the first co-living project in China. Together with Chinese project developer Nova Property Investment Co., Mini is about to transform a former industrial complex in Shanghai into a multi-layered co-living initiative made up of apartments, working spaces and cultural/leisure offerings. The conversion work is slated to begin before the end of this year.

Analogue to the brand’s motto “Creative Use of Space”, a maximum of quality of life is to be offered on the site of a former color factory in a small space – with apartments, bookable workspaces and services such as vehicles for shared use. Furthermore, parts of the 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. “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.”

The project in Shanghai is based on an innovative co-living concept. In an up-and-coming area of the well developed Jing’An district in the centre of the city, a cluster of six buildings will be turned into a vibrant urban neighbourhood. 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 can be accommodated in the adjacent spaces.

Not just apartments but also enough space for collaborative interaction is projected at the Mini Living complex.
Photo: BMW Group

The living concept 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.

“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.”

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.