R56 Interior Comments

I like what they have done with the place! It looks very cool and is starting to grow on me. I like the toggle switches and I look forward to seeing it in person. But there are a few things that are starting to bother me.

Making Options a Standard
What's with making the auto a/c so appealing compared to the standard manual controls that hardly anyone will opt to get the manual? I currently have auto a/c in my MINI and am quite please with it, but the standard manual controls were at least well thought out. I understand the idea of making the extra cost options desirable but not getting that cool little display screen is a tough one to pass up.

ReUse as opposed to ReCreate!
Being an architect, there are many instances that I too ReUse specific details from different projects into new projects. Even using a specific detail and mimicking the general gesture throughout a single space or project is a great way to unite a series of spaces. But that too can become a bit overwhelming when used too much or if the mimicking is too similar to the original.

Take certain cues of current MINI's design. There are many instances that they actually ReCreate elements that ReUse general gestures of other designed items in the car. We all know that the Auto A/C controls resemble the MINI wings logo, but it's subtle, which is what makes it work so well concept-wise. Another instance I particularly enjoy is the round cross A/C vents (circle with a 45˚ cross brace) which is repeated in the climate sensors located on either side of the auto A/C controls. Very subtle, very cool!

Too Much of a Good Thing:
So at first glance at the R56 interior, the first thing I see is the three spoke steering wheel horn mimicked everywhere. It's not subtle, it's not clever, it's just looks like copies placed everywhere. Its the same "dark round object with a silver concave ring". Its in the steering wheel, the speedo, the tach, the four A/C vents, the speaker in the door, the door armrest pillar support, possibly the door lever, and the shift knob. Some might also include the auto a/c display too.

It seems that MINI had the steering wheel done for the R56 and decided to include it in the current MINIs. (The same goes for the OEM armrest btw.) They liked it so much that they just used it everywhere. I was hoping for a bit more thought into component design with a broad gesture to unify the interior. It's like a cruel nightmare where the steering wheel is your worst fear and it appears everywhere. just kidding! It's really not that bad, but I rather enjoyed noticing the effort and thought behind some of the little design cues. I'm sure there are many other places where that energy was spent, and I'm looking forward to finding those instances down the line.

See for your self and let me know what you think. Images from MINI2.com


Anonymous said...

Now you've done it. I can't look at the new interior without seeing all those silver circles. I didn't mind the cheesy air con controls in the shape of the logo and I could have got used to the dinner plate speedo and even the 50s jet styled air vents, but every time I look at it now, I see all those silver circles...

DanC said...

sorry 'bout dat. I'm sure the interior will grow on me eventually.

Randy said...

So far the R56 interior has never appealed to me. So little in fact it was the final nail in the coffin that pushed me to purchase my 2006 now versus waiting for the 2007 R56.

Your take is spot on!

Anonymous said...

Great article Dan ! Now I see nothing but circles in my mini - ha ha.

Hey are you doing any of the Mini Through The States sections? I will be attending Sections 9 - 12...

DanC said...

Thanks guys.

Murray, unfortunately I could not get the time off from work (great excuse huh?) but some of the other locals will be doing the St. Louis-Indy leg of the trip. Sounds like a blast, wish I could go.
Here's a link of the event: CMMC+MTTS