Dezeen and MINI World Tour: we kick off the second leg of our Dezeen and MINI World Tour in Milan with a tour of the city from architect, designer and proud resident Fabio Novembre.
As we drive around the city in our MINI Paceman during the movie, Novembre explains that despite being relatively small, with just 1.3 million inhabitants, Milan has a global profile. "It belongs to the network of important international cities, but it's probably the smallest one."
Fabio Novembre is from the south of Italy but moved north to study architecture at the Politecnico di Milano – a design school which was, and still is, regarded as the best in Italy. "I moved to Milano when I was 17," Novembre says. "I've been living here more or less for the last 29 years."
The designer points out that three of Italy’s biggest industries – finance, fashion and design – are all based in Milan. Unlike many other Italian cities, Milan is a place where things tend to work, he says: "I can tell you as an Italian this is really an exception. It's not as beautiful a city as Rome but the only things that work in Italy are based here."
Our tour of the city takes in the famous Duomo cathedral, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping arcade (above) and the Torre Velasca (below), a pioneering skyscraper built in the 1950s by architects BBPR.
This interview was filmed as the city geared up for the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, the world’s biggest design fair, which, together with hundreds of events that take place across the city, transforms Milan for a week each April.
"500,000 people are involved in the Salone del Mobile," says Novembre. "It's a very democratic event. All areas of Milan are colonised by people who want to show their projects."
The sheer number of people, shows and parties mean that the week is unparalleled in the design world. "Anything can happen in Milano during this week," Novembre concludes.
Over the coming days we’ll be posting more movies from Milan, including visits with Novembre to some of the places he feels best reflect the changing city, plus interviews with many of the leading figures taking part in the design festivities.
This movie features a MINI Cooper S Paceman.