Design of the Year 2006
MINI Habitat
Show info
Architectural Design Interior Designer
Brett Cameron
Kingsmen Exhibits Pte Ltd
Assistant Designer
Jason Chua
Kingsmen Exhibits Pte Ltd
Graphic Designer
Gerald Tan
Kingsmen Exhibits Pte Ltd
Client
Karsono Kwee
Trans Eurokars Pte Ltd

It was his own experience of habitat that made him aware of design. At the age of 7, his parents created a three-level bedroom completely of timber. To a great extent, we sense that child-like awe and wonder is the same freedom to play when one enters MINI Habitat at Leng Kee, where retail is redefined by Brett Cameron and his team at Kingsmen Exhibits.

"I believe everything we do should have an underlying contribution to our sense of satisfaction, or be ideally fun," expressed Brett Cameron.

"Through our sense of fun, we can brighten our outlook and heighten our awareness, inspire others and ultimately lift the quality of the experience at hand."

"MINI Habitat is an almost complete expression of this philosophy. I say almost because no experience is complete without the human element. My intent for Habitat is truly realized when the doors are open, the customers can engage with the space & interact with appropriately trained staff and, perhaps, engage in a typically MINI event, such as sunset cocktails on the roof terrace, lazing around the fountain and listening to some chill out sounds served up by a visiting DJ."

"I am very focused on this theory of retail design moving into the realm of being presented as a permanent event space; an everevolving dynamic experiential representation of the brand. It becomes a destination to visit over and over again."

"The inimitable qualities of a MINI owner were my main inspiration. These are a very passionate and unique group of people, as distinctive in their like-minded attributes as they are in their differences."

The project was not without small challenges. "Despite a number of expensive & exotic materials being used throughout, I wanted a very raw concrete floor under the cars to contrast with the surrounds. We made all types of samples to try and convince the owner, but he didn't agree until a guarantee was provided that if he didn't like the final result, we would replace with tiles free-of-charge. I'm happy to say that he loves the raw concrete."

"I'm motivated by the fact that a Singapore design house is providing such an integral strategic support to a company like the BMW Group. The fact that we are influencing the way the BMW & MINI brands are presented around the globe, that our designs are used as 'best practice' examples and that we are designing for markets in the east and west alike, including Australia, New Zealand, Mongolia, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, France, Mauritius, Tunisia, Guam, Bangladesh, and India.

Advice to emerging designers:
"You will never enter a space again without dissecting the smallest element that is contributing to that environment. It is an extremely emotional ride, but an extremely rewarding one. Learn how to verbalize your ideas."

ABOUT THE DESIGNER

JURY CITATION

The project is the first freestanding, experiential hub for the MINI brand that takes showcasing cars to a new level by incorporating lifestyle into the buying experience. The showroom skillfully draws on the interior architecture to articulate the philosophy and visual experience of the MINI brand to a niche market. The resolution of the interior design uses appropriate materials and demonstrates comprehensive and consistent design detail throughout. Natural and artificial light is used in an innovative way. As the first of its kind in the world, the MINI Habitat in Singapore is now used by BMW Group worldwide as a benchmark for how the MINI brand should be presented, and amply demonstrates the success of design as a tool for competitive advantage.

NOMINATOR CITATION

MR ANTHONY CHONG
KINGSMEN EXHIBITS PTE LTD

At Kingsmen, we always strive to make the difference in both our designs as well as in our relationships with our clients. It is through this conviction that our long-standing partnership with one of our valued clients, BMW Asia has been firmly established. A thorough understanding of the BMW brand ensured that each project for the company was completed to their satisfaction, fully in line with the company's corporate identity.

What really makes the MINI showroom unique? It would be inaccurate to simply say "It's the design" as each design is unique in itself. More appropriately, we can say it is the experience that makes the difference in the MINI Habitat.

Most showrooms are designed to focus on their client's convenience as they browse through the cars on display, listen to sales presentations, wait for their loved ones and of course, make the purchase. While the MINI showroom did not deviate from this, it enhanced the overall lifestyle experience for customers by putting together design elements to showcase the difference between MINI and other car brands.

We deviated from what is common by creating a three-storey showroom instead of one. The reason for which is not merely to make the design different, but to address problems brought about by single storey showrooms. Even the event space on top is not a mere experiment, it is a very functional space - innovative, yes; but more importantly, it would serve as a venue for MINI events which are sheer reflections of an active MINI lifestyle.

MR RALF KARSTEN BISSINGER
DIRECTOR, SALES AND MARKETING
BMW INDIA

The MINI showroom, which opened on the stroke of midnight in 1 January 2006 is atypical of car showrooms in more ways than one.

To begin with, a fibre glass car, two large frames of LED and neon lightings were used at the façade to ensure that anyone passing by would take a second look.

Inside, the reflective glass interiors, combined with black flooring and strategically placed spotlights enhances the natural lighting filtering through the tinted windows. This alone creates a relaxed ambience not found in many showrooms.

A MINI bar and café is also accessible for customers who want to chill out. An array of MINI lifestyle products and accessories are also made available for MINI enthusiasts.

At the rear end, service and parts workshop for MINI cars is on hand, equipped with the latest technology for tuning and repairs.

For most showrooms, the visitors' cars often obstruct the view of the cars. But for MINI, this would never be a problem. The solution - a second level was created for the primary presentation space for the cars. The cars were presented as the stars especially with the high gloss ceiling that reflects them further from above.

But things do not stop there; a third level was created as an event space to host MINI events from demonstrations by sushi chefs, fashion parades to a cool open lounge setting with live or DJ presented tunes.

Overall, the MINI showroom serves as an active lifestyle hub constantly offering something new, not only to MINI car owners but to any casual passer-by just looking for somewhere different to relax. Regardless of age or social class, MINI Habitat offers a unique, lifestyle experience that one cannot enjoy in any other car showrooms.