Millennial Living: These Shape-Shifting Walls Dissolve the Social Divide

Many millenials enjoy the social vitality of shared living spaces and the productive atmosphere of co-working hubs, but are put off by the lack of privacy they crave during certain times of the day. Now, a solution may have arrived in the shape of the MINI LIVING concept apartment, designed by MINI in accordance with their mission to maximize creative uses of space.

The prototype dwelling — unveiled at last week’s Milan Design Week — provides occupants with complete freedom of choice over the level of privacy they prefer. Each wall within the space is cleverly designed with integrated hatches and doors, each of which can be folded back to open up the space and blur the boundaries between private residences and communal living areas such as lounges, informal workspaces and coffee bars.

This simple architectural device could result in a radical change in the way people live — particularly for a generation of millennials that has fallen in love with work-share spaces such as WeWork and The Hive. With MINI’s setup, this culture of collaboration and communal living can now be enjoyed within your home by pivoting the walls of your apartment to merge it with others — safe in knowledge that you can reverse the condition at the end of the day, when you’re ready for some alone time!

Compact design ideas such as these are proliferating as cities become ever tighter and real estate prices rocket, leading more architects to question the spatial and programmatic expectations of home and work environments. Receiving a hugely positive reception in Milan, the MINI LIVING apartment could be just the beginning for this evolving typology.