MINI and designer Paul Smith shows how simple a car can be

MINI and renowned designer Paul Smith has come together to create a one-off fully electric MINI Cooper SE that mother nature would approve.

Based on the idea of “Simplicity, Transparency, Sustainability”, they’ve basically stripped down a 3-door Cooper SE, available in Malaysia at RM218k, and replaced most of the trims and panels with sustainable, recycled material.

For starters, the body has been left unpainted, exposing the galvanised steel panels with grinding marks from the factory. Only a thin layer of transparent paint was painted on to protect against corrosion. MINI said it was to show off the car as a functional and robust daily companion.

The front and rear splitters, wheel arch panels and side skirts are all 3D printed from recycled plastic. The screws (yellow spots) for the panels were intentionally exposed; to show how simple they can be removed and recycled at the end of the vehicle’s life.

Recycled Perspex was used to make the front (covered) grille and the large panoramic roof. It’s not only light but exposes the bare structure of the body. By the way, the electric plug engraving on the charging flap was done by Paul Smith himself.

Suffice to say, the interior was also stripped down to its bare metal and replaced with recycled material. It’s been coloured blue at the request of Paul Smith, to produce an eye-catching effect. According to Smith, it is bare yet feels “dressed” at the same time.

Instead of the standard dashboard, MINI has replaced it with a one-piece semi-transparent mould and rather than fitting the standard MINI infotainment system, the centre dial has been designed to fit the driver’s smartphone. How cool is that!

All the switches in the cabin can be found just below, for start/stop and power window functions. The seats were reupholstered with knitted fabric while the floor mats are made from recycled rubber.

Their Terrazzo-like pattern is actually a (cool) side effect of the recycling and manufacturing process. Recycled cork is used to make the dashboard surface and door trim, and along with the knitted fabric, provides noise insulation for the cabin.

The plain aluminium steering wheel is wrapped with the same tape used on bicycle handlebars while a simple mesh covers the airbag. Mesh is also used as “door panels” as the transparency of the knitted mesh changes according to different angles – adding a cool effect. The pull handles are recycled from climbing rope.

With the near-naked interior, even the window airbags can be seen. This has the same effect as the visible cables that are normally concealed.



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