Take a look at Paul Smith’s one-off sustainable Mini car
Words by Rob Chilton
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The designer collaborates with the British carmaker
Recycled cork, Perspex, rubber and fabric were used by Paul Smith in the creation of his one-off, custom-made Mini Cooper SE. Designed with the tagline ‘sustainability with a twist’ the Mini Strip had its ‘e’ removed from the word ‘stripe’ in a nod to the stripping down of the electric three-door car.
Instead of coloured paint, the body of the car is wrapped in a film to prevent corrosion but keeps the grinding marks from the factory that Smith calls “the perfect imperfection.” The charging flap of the electric car features an electric plug hand-drawn by Smith.
The interior contains no chrome or leather but instead a recyclable knitted fabric to upholster the seats. Coupled with a dashboard topper pad, door shoulders and parcel shelf made from recycled cork, the acoustics are greatly enhanced. A steering wheel wrapped in tape that’s usually found on bicycle handlebars points to Paul Smith’s love of cycling, while a small fabric bearing the designer’s name sits at 1 o’clock on the wheel.
Smith first collaborated with the British carmaker in 1999 and was delighted to “rethink the iconic Mini” again in 2021. “I know and love the existing car, but by respecting the past and looking to the future we have created something very special, by going back to basics, reducing things down and stripping the car.”
Oliver Heilmer is head of Mini Design and believes innovation is a common trait of both brands. “Mini and Paul Smith share the same bold way of thinking about the future in terms of innovation and design,” he says. “Paul asked essential questions right at the start of the design process with his non-automotive and therefore fresh perspective.”
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