This follows a trend for car brands moving away from their core missions, after MINI’s exploration into shared urban living and affordable housing solutions shown in Milan earlier this year – when BMW, Audi and more also weighed into the design world.
These companies are all recognising that the ownership of fossil-fuel-guzzling cars is declining, so are exploring how their brands could be applied in other fields.
MINI’s head of brand strategy and business innovation Esther Bahne spoke to Dezeen during Milan design week 2016 about the company’s shift in interest.
“The core competency of MINI is design,” she said. “MINI is a design brand so first of all we are applying this to other fields of living.”
The Germany-based brand’s A/D/O space comprises 23,000 square feet (2,167 square metres) in a former warehouse in the Greenpoint area of Brooklyn.
Its name stands for Amalgamated Drawing Office – the team that was headed up by Alec Issigonos, who designed the first MINI in 1959.
“A/D/O was founded by MINI as part of the company’s own design practice and continued exploration of innovations that improve urban life,” said a statement from A/D/O. “It aims to stimulate great design and be a prolific source of new ideas for the future.”
Opening to the public this month, the space will feature a workspace with prototyping facilities, a design store and a restaurant.
A/D/O is currently accepting applications for designers to take up the first full- and part-time residencies in its workspace, where month-to-month desk rental starts at $600 (£476).
It will also host the first event in its Design Academy programme, titled Utopia vs Dystopia, from 27 to 29 January 2017.
UK-based Jaguar Land Rover’s InMotion space on Curtain Road, Shoreditch, is geared more towards tech startups that focus on transport and smart-city innovations.
First announced in April 2016, the concept requires the startups to build apps and on-demand services that the company can use to support its other products.
A lounge and an event space are located on the ground floor, with offices and work on one of the building’s upper storeys.
“We were looking for a very specific image,” InMotion’s head of accelerator programme, James Nettleton, told Bisnow. “There’s a spectrum in managed spaces ranging from the very corporate to the scrappier startup world.”
“We needed the best of both worlds: somewhere entrepreneurs would feel at home, but where we could also host investors. This space feels like a good balance between the two,” he added.
Other car brands that are shifting focus towards other areas include Aston Martin, which began offering design consultancy services in March 2016.
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