Dezeen and MINI World Tour: in our next movie from Milan, architect and designer Fabio Novembre takes us to a converted farm near the city centre and explains why he sees the project as an important response to Italy's ongoing economic crisis.
"Milano used to be a place full of farms," Novembre explains. "Most of them were in the city centre, very close to the Duomo, and this was one of them."
Called Cascina Cuccagna, the farm is pressed-up against apartment buildings in the Porta Romana district of Milan, to the south-east of the city centre.
Novembre explains that the eighteenth-century buildings had been derelict for many years, until they were restored and converted into a cultural centre in 2008 by a consortium of local companies and residents.
He believes this bottom-up approach to redevelopment is a "very interesting example of how Milan can evolve" in the face of a lack of government investment.
"A group of citizens asked the city government, that is now without any money, to rent the place for 20 years," he says. "It's really a new way that we can approach the [economic] crisis as Italians. There is no public money any more, so we have to really organise ourselves on a smaller scale to have different solutions for evolution."
Novembre shows us round the new facilities, which include a restaurant and bar, organic grocery store, gallery and a community garden where the fruit and vegetables for the restaurant are grown.
All these facilities are available to the public and Novembre believes it is this local community spirit that makes the farm special: "The restaurant here is called Un Posto a Milano, which means 'a place in Milan' - that's the essences of this place, that's the spirit of this place."
Cascina Cuccagna also has a special place in Novembre's heart for another reason. "Fourteen years ago, exactly in this place, I met my wife," he reveals. "There used to be a very small, tiny restaurant here [where we met]. Now we are able to come here with our daughters and enjoy it all day long."
We drove out to Cascina Cuccagna in our MINI Cooper S Paceman.