For the last couple of years, MINI has been expanding into new areas of expertise, from clothing to reinventing the way we use small spaces in crowded cities. Earlier this year, the people from Oxford unveiled their Living collection, an experiment meant to show intelligent ways to use innovative ideas for maximum quality of living within confined spaces. The fourth such installation was unveiled this week at the architecture exhibition China House Vision in Beijing.

It’s a micro-apartment that was transformed with the help of visionary local architect Dayong Sun. Having a surface of just 15 m2 this Urban Cabin as MINI calls it, offers a high degree of flexibility and lots of possibilities. Every Urban Cabin has to have a specific space inside designed in accordance with the culture of where it will be located, and that’s why a local architect is always called upon for help. In this situation, Sun created an open area which pays homage to the courtyards of the traditional Chinese hutongs.

Golden, telescope-like mirrors are mounted above this interactive space, reflecting the immediate environment but also the broader urban context. A swing at the center of the space provides a playful shift in the viewer’s perspective. The storage and seating facilities positioned around the Urban Cabin are designed in geometrical shapes reminiscent of traditional Chinese tangram puzzles, also acting as an attractive feature for contemplation.

“Each MINI Living Urban Cabin creates maximum quality of living within a very limited space in a specific situational context”, explains Oke Hauser, Creative Lead MINI Living. “The result is a global network of creative residential solutions in which people all over the world feel at home, while at the same time providing a public space for innovative forms of co-living”. What we’re looking at today could be a preview of the first co-living project in China which is set to be opened in Shanghai in 2019.