Saturday, September 25

Paul Smith’s Strip goes back to Mini’s origins | Digital Trends Spanish

There is no doubt that when in the mid-1950s Sir Alec Issogonis, the Turkish-born English automotive designer of the now-defunct British Motor Corporation, laid the foundation for a tiny city car with a revolutionary cross-engine layout and front-wheel drive, it could not have been imagined that its creation would ignite a technological and cultural revolution, much less that more than half a century later, it would become the sophisticated, and enormous in comparison, vehicle that we know today as the Mini.

The ties between the Issigonis Mini, and the current BMW-owned Mini, are limited to visual familiarity and the fact that they share the same name. However, British fashion designer Paul Smith took it upon himself to create a version of the current Mini inspired by Issigonis’ ideas of absolute simplicity, which when combined with the sustainability of the electric Mini Cooper SE, the emission-free version of the current generation of the Mini Cooper, which Smith used as the basis for his creation, achieved an unexpectedly attractive result as unusual and logical. Smith called it the Mini Strip.

With “simplicity, transparency, and sustainability” as the guiding principles of the project, Smith obtained an unpainted electric Mini Cooper SE, the galvanized steel body of which was only coated with a sheet of protective varnish to protect it from corrosion. The designers created a very simple looking grille and much like the original mini from 1959, but with high aerodynamic efficiency. The hubcaps, also aerodynamically designed to reduce wind resistance, are also exclusive to the prototype, although much less retro than the grille.

In the cabin of the Mini Strip, Smith took an even more radical and fascinating approach to the principle of simplicity. There we get a basically bare cockpit, where the exposed bolts are highlighted in order to demonstrate how easily the car could break down at the end of its useful life.

Smith got rid of all plastic trim in the Mini Strip cabin except for the dash, and all exposed metal elements of the vehicle frame were treated with a beautiful blue paint. Instead of pieces of wood, leather, or carbon fiber, the interior of the mini Strip shows us knitted fabrics, mesh, and pieces of recyclable cork as the main points of contact with the driver. Smith’s team removed the speedometer and center instrument display and replaced it with a mount for the smartphone, eliminating the redundancy of having two navigation systems inside the car.

The Mini Strip is a purely visual and conceptual exercise that does not seek to show new technologies but rather a new approach to the conception of the automobile as a simple machine without excesses. I’m not too sure that exposed structural metal can pass the scrutiny of the law in many parts of the world, but the exercise is an interesting way to rethink what the true need is for many of the accessories and materials used in today’s automobiles. Obviously, the Mini Strip will not be produced, but perhaps it will lead the way for a new generation of cars made with sustainable materials, easier to recycle, that are more environmentally friendly. Maybe.

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