It’s a delightful mix of retro influences, technology and classic Paul Smith quirk
June 8, 2022: Indulging in some upcycling, Sir Paul Smith and MINI have collaborated on a project that is getting showcased at Salone del Mobile (or Milan Design Week) 2022.
Last summer, Paul Smith presented the MINI STRIP at the IAA motor show in Munich: a radically reduced, sustainable concept car. Paul Smith's MINI Recharged model now revisits this idea to explore the possibilities of sustainable design. "Three things describe this car perfectly: quality, sustainability and functionality," the designer explains.
In 1998, Sir Smith had created the MINI Paul Smith Edition, limited to 1,800 vehicles. The prototype of this unique edition was painted a bright blue based on a swatch taken from one of his favourite shirts. This particular car has now been reinvented. The ‘new’ model retains the unmistakable shade of blue, while the lime green battery box recalls a 1990s colour palette.
"When you move into your old aunt's flat, out of respect you don't change everything, but you do some modernising," says Sir Smith. Sir Alec Issigonis developed the first Mini in response to the oil crisis of 1959. Minimum fuel consumption, maximum use of space – that was the idea that convinced millions of people over many decades to invest in a Mini.
The radically reduced and sustainable concept of the MINI Strip continues in the interior of the newly redesigned car. By deliberately leaving out trim parts, the bodyshell with its bare, unclad floor pan dominates the interior, with rustic floor mats made of recycled rubber on top. The buttons and gear are intriguingly retro.
In addition to innovative, resource-saving materials, Sir Smith's design leaves out entire instruments: a magnet next to the steering wheel accommodates the smartphone, which, apart from the speedometer, replaces almost all the old buttons and functions on the dashboard. The steering wheel can be completely removed to facilitate getting in and out of the car – both an innovative solution as well as a tongue-in-cheek quip symbolic of Sir Smith’s trademark wit.
The engineers from ‘Recharged Heritage Limited’ converted the classic Mini into an emission-free vehicle by installing a 72-kilowatt electric motor, making it a completely electric car.
At the Salone del Mobile, visitors have the opportunity to see the newly designed model as well as last year’s MINI STRIP.