Five Wonders

It was quite a shock to see Mini Cooper partnered with Arcosanti in an insert advertisement in this month's Dwell Magazine.

Missing image - miniarcosanti.jpg

Part of Mini's "Let's visit five wonders of the modern world" campaign (the other four being The Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas; Santiago Calatrava bridge in Redding, California; The Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe in Plano, Illinois; and Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania), the back of the ad asserts that the Mini uses the same design principles as Soleri and Arcosanti, specifically conservation of space and fuel. While it may be true that the Mini is designed with these considerations in mind, it's a far cry from the way those concepts work and inform Arcosanti (see an article I wrote for TENbyTEN for background on the place). Same words, different principles.

What I find hard to believe is that Paolo Soleri would endorse such a thing as an automobile, even though he located his pedestrian-only laboratory of Arcosanti in an area only reachable by car, a fact not lost on Mini who mention that "those desert highways along the way are a veritable motoring paradise."

So Mini appears to be twisting the main concepts of Arcosanti towards its end. It makes me wonder how the other four relate to Mini Cooper...


  1. Yup. My eyes damn near popped clean out of my head when I saw that ad; Arcosanti proposes to eliminate cars, that's much of the point, and now it's being used to sell them?!? The mind boggles. Admittedly, I have a bit of a soft spot for the Mini -- but still, this is like the Dalai Lama advertising a line of handguns. Utterly inconceivable.

    I'm certain that Paolo or the Foundation couldn't possibly have authorized that... I'm going to have to ask them, next time I make it out there.


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