At the recent Milan Fashion Show, Cool Hunting caught up with BMW Head of Design Adrian Van Hooydonk who talked about the new MINI Rocketman Concept. Earlier this week, Oxford-based MINI took off the wraps of their newest concept: Rocketman, a mini-MINI designed and built for large urban areas.
Rocketman will make its world debut next Tuesday, March 2nd, at the Geneva Motor Show. Here is an excerpt from the interview:
Is there a danger of being too cute with Mini?
The lines are more crisp and taut on this concept, because we feel that a Mini should always be like a friend, let’s say. But if it becomes too cute, than maybe people will see it like a toy, a teddy bear. Of course we like to appeal to young customers, but Mini traditionally is a car that appealed to people of all ages, cross-gender and all around the world.
The elements in this car, we believe are elements that could do that: keep Mini exciting, interesting fun, endearing, but also something to be reckoned with, also serious. Almost like a British bulldog—a small dog, but people take it seriously.
What are the challenges of designing small?
On a big car, it’s easy to make things move, do a door opening or a trunk. On a small car, it’s much, much harder. But exactly what Mini stands for, right from the very beginning, is being clever in a small space. And this car is full of ideas for a small space. The way the trunk opens, the original Mini had that too. In a tight parking spot, if a car is parked behind your Mini, you can still open this trunk and put your stuff in. Or the side doors, they have a double hinge that allows you to open the door, even when there’s another car parked right next to you.
What other examples of industrial design inspired the car?
We’re constantly not just looking at other fields of design, like industrial design, furniture design or fashion design, we also have a part of our team—actually a large part of our team located in California—called Design Works. And this design consultancy, we do industrial design for other companies as well. We are actually in touch with other industries, like aircraft industry, or boating. We design airplane interiors or boats exteriors and interiors.
And you always learn, so as a designer you become more creative the more you work on different types of products, or design problems. LED light is something that is coming anyway, also in furniture, also in housing. It is simply very small, it uses less energy.
It led to a whole creative outburst, because now we can position these lights in places where in the past a lightbulb would have to go in and there wouldn’t be the space. Without LED we couldn’t have done this roof or the illumination of the door panels, or the tail lamps where the air can pass through. It wouldn’t be possible.