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MINI Head of Design Oliver Heilmer on the future of MINI

13 October 2021

3 min. to read

MINI Head of Design Oliver Heilmer
The initial idea for the first MINI was already based on a sustainable principle. Conceived in the midst of the oil crisis, it was a family car that offered maximum space and driving pleasure while minimising the use of materials and resources. The classic MINI showed how much more you can do with less - before anyone even mentioned sustainability. Reduction was a key aspect at the time and has therefore been an integral part of the MINI mentality since the brand's inception.

Oliver Heilmer, Head of Design at MINI since 2017, talks about the future of the brand. "We are taking the sustainability-based concept of the first MINI further into the future with the MINI Vision Urbanaut - our vision for a spacious, multifunctional MINI model," says Oliver. "This MINI also offers maximum space on a small footprint. And it's more versatile than ever. What's more, the interior contains completely recycled materials, and we've avoided leather and chrome altogether."

"In future, we want people to see MINI primarily as an experience. Reduction - leaving things out - is central to us. But that in no way means that you are without something or missing something. On the contrary, leaving something out creates space for maximum emotion. Instead of "What can we do more of?", we focus on "What is really necessary for the customer to be able and want to form a personal bond with his MINI?". We see MINI in the future as a kind of 'partner in crime'. This personal approach is central to MINI: the customer should see himself in his MINI and build an even stronger bond than today.

Has electrification opened up a new approach to design? Or even a new kind of emotionalisation? "Definitely. The overall experience is everything. Electrification gives us the starting point to think about things fundamentally differently, not just in an aesthetic sense. Simply put, it allows us to explore new worlds. We're trying to do looking forward to bring the sensory interaction of different design elements, such as the styling, the sound or the smell of a vehicle, into the MINI in a coherent way.

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