BIG IDEAS ON A SMALL FOOTPRINT.

The MINI LIVING URBAN CABIN is a site-specific experiment for contemporary city life.

The Courtyard at A/D/O has transformed several times: from Assemble's extruder to FUZI's mural of densely interlocking grafitti, it serves as a narrow but dynamic space inviting a variety of interruptions – graphic and spatial, functional and expressive. The latest intervention is the URBAN CABIN, a project from MINI LIVING: a open-plan, experimental city habitat.

It's the second in a series – each iteration developing the themes of efficiency and creativity in small footprint, but modulated by the particular conditions of its local urban environment. The first URBAN CABIN was installed in September at London Design Festival, a collaboration between MINI LIVING and the architect Sam Jacob. Interpolating a library with a high-gloss exterior and a shared kitchen, it responded to the dearth of public libraries in the English capital by bringing them into the space.

The New York iteration included a variation on the library theme, adding hanging volumes recalling the loading stays and pulleys that once played a vital role in the industrial activity of the immediate neighborhood, in Greenpoint. "It is crucial to our design process that we truly understand what makes living in this specific city unique,” explained Corinna Natter, Experience Designer MINI LIVING.

Reflecting of New York's historical role as a hub of migrants, Bureau V's “kitchen” and “experience room” combine assertive and rigid forms with expressive colors and plush materials, seeking to “add a dose of humor and to provide some respite from the stress of relocation,” said Stella Lee, Principal of Bureau V.  “In addition to its contribution to human well-being and to the lowering of stress levels, humor plays a vital role in the contemporary media landscape, providing a powerful vehicle for cultural and political criticism,” says Peter Zuspan, Principal of Bureau V.

“MINI LIVING believes that the creative use of space is key to finding new approaches for the cities we love,” says Oke Hauser, Creative Lead of MINI LIVING. “In an increasingly generic urbanized world, we can use design to turn spaces into useful and significant places for the city; places that offer specific local characteristics and functions to create a unique identity on various experiential layers.”

To complement the URBAN CABIN installation, A/D/O hosted a series of events and workshops throughout the month of October, which focused on topics of the changing residential landscape in New York and worldwide. The events will culminate in a workshop with AIANY’s New Practices New York committee on October 27th at 12 p.m., as part of a series entitled “New Locality: Finding Ground in an Uncertain World.”

Images courtesy of Frank Oudeman, Lee Tucket and MINI Living. 

MINI LIVING URBAN CABIN is on view through November 22.