NYT Profiles MINI_Motion Designer Yves Behar

The New York Times has an article on Yves Behar, the man behind much of the design of the MINI_Motion collection. It goes into detail on Behar's ideas on “brand fusion” and how it translates to his work for clients. Here's an excerpt:

Behar sees designers as collaborators with their clients in shaping a consumer's experience of a product, rather than just the product itself. He rails against what he calls ''feature creep,'' the gratuitous stuffing of more and more technology into products without making them any easier to use. ''Tactility — how we use and carry products — makes them more appealing,'' he declares.

This approach has pleased fuseproject's clients, like Birkenstock, MINI (a part of BMW) and Toshiba, and has earned it an exhibition that will open this month at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. (Behar designed the Learning Shoe, complete with a chip that collects data on the wearer's feet, just for the exhibition.)

Joseph Rosa, the museum's curator of architecture and design, calls Behar's approach ''brand fusion,'' and says, ''It's not just about designing something and then leaving the company to market it.'' Or, as Behar puts it: ''The time of the designer as master is over. Now, the designer is a partner — with a point of view.''

Behar's point of view developed after he graduated from Art Center College of Design in 1992 and spent several years working for well-known Silicon Valley firms like Lunar Design and frog design. He set up shop on his own in 1999 in South Park, the San Francisco neighborhood that Behar calls ''the ground zero of the dot-com boom and bust.'' ''I spent a couple of pretty miserable years trying to persuade clients of the importance of physical experience in design,'' he recalls. But a few projects that received favorable press — like the cerebral bottle for spacescent (in which the flask of scent is suspended within a transparent outer container, to evoke the virtual space that fragrance creates around the wearer) — caught the attention of larger companies, like MINI and Birkenstock.

MINI called on Behar in 2001, to develop accessories around its iconic car, the Cooper, which was being reintroduced 43 years after its debut. The company wasn't looking for the usual logo-based key rings and the like, normally sold by car dealers to people who already own the car. Instead, MINI envisioned that its accessories line, called MINI–motion, would appeal to people who might not own a MINI but wanted to experience what the brand was about.

So rather than reinforce the stereotype of accessory as status symbol, Behar focused on the transition between being inside and outside the car: every accessory would have a dual function. For example, there's a shoe that has a detachable inner slipper for driving; a watch that reads either vertically or horizontally, depending on the position of your arm; and a jacket that has a built-in seat.

You can read the entire article here

  • Thanks Lee for the link!

  • Monkey_Punch

    They sell the Puma Mini shoe at the Puma outlet store for like 45 bucs. I tried them on and it looks like i have little space shuttle for shoe (something like clipless riding shoes). And I was not able to figure out how to use that sock thing

  • $45!? That seems really low. They are only carried at four Puma stores in the US and the official retail price is around $145. Where did you see them for $45?

  • R

    Does anybody remember Nikes' Air Mocs, '80's? That's about what you have there. I owned sum don't really need another pair!

    The watches go with the sun glasses…..JLO & Brad Pitt stuff.


  • R

    PS……….Most of the Mini clothing I have purchased needed to be exchanged. One of the shirts with the cartoon of the # 37 guys was printed so low it was in the belt line area, the long sleeve shirt with black patches on the sleeves that had the attatched Mini logo on it come off 1st wash. The only thing I haven't taken back was the jacket with 2 stripes on the sleeve and down the front, but I did have to glue the logo above the pocket on………kinda like the car, masking taped together, at least mine is…….love that car?…………..R

  • Monkey_Punch


    I'm not kidding – $45 at the Puma outlet in Gilroy CA. They had like two colors with the extra driving sock. The colors were black and grey and they cleary were labeled something like MINI/PUMA. Dunno if these were slight defects or an older version. At least for me I thought they looked like over hyped basketball shoes from Nike.

    Peace out!!!


  • MP – that's amazing. I might try to call them up and order some, you wouldn't happen to know the phone # would you? Of course finding a size 12 or 13 is usually not easy 🙂

    Thanks for the tip!

  • Monkey_Punch

    Looked it up on Google – search terms : puma outlet store gilroy

    Puma (408) 846-0688

    Good luck!!

  • ZAKdog

    I own the black MINI shirt with the two white stripes down the front and discreet emblem on the sleeve.

  • R

    Gilroy…..the garlic capitol of the world.

  • MP – thanks for the number. Called and they had nothing larger than an 11. Neither did any other Puma store. That being said I did get a pair for someone as a gift.

    Thanks again for the heads up.

  • Clive

    Gabe, My wife has a new Mini Cooper with the CVT I ask you a Mini with A/Trans. Any way having had an originally 1963 Mini when I was young and single in England I had nothing but fun with that little car… My question really is this. Is it normal for the new Mini my wife has for the brake dust to build up onto the wheels. It seems more thicker on the fronts than the rears.. I called the sales person at the dealership who sold us the vehicle and was told it was.?

  • Lee

    Clive —

    It is depressingly normal for the MINI's front wheels to wear an unsightly coating of black brake pad dust, the rears a thinner layer.

    For answers to questions such as this (and many others), try MINI2.com. There are aftermar-ket pads reputed to be cleaner; see http://mini2.com/forum/showthread.php?t=46976&highlight=brake+pad+dust

  • Gilbert Cabral

    The price of shoes are dropping, I got mine @ $37.00 that's include tax at gilroy puma outlet. Thanks Monkey punch for your info.

  • shopping

    hello!I'm from Taiwan, but I wanna buy this mini driving shoe. Is there anybody that knows how to buy one via net???

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