Movie with Fabio Novembre on Porta Nuova architecture in Milan

"It is very difficult to build contemporary architecture in Italy"

Dezeen and MINI World Tour: in our final movie with Fabio Novembre in Milan, the architect and designer takes us to a new development in the Porta Nuova district of the city and explains why the project is so unusual in Italy. 

"It is very difficult to build contemporary architecture in Italy"
Unicredit Tower by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects

Porta Nuova is an area in Milan to the north of the city centre named after a nineteenth century gate in the old city walls. In 2009, construction started on the Progetto Porta Nuova redevelopment project, which includes a large park and a number of high rise buildings by prominent architects such as César Pelli and Stefano Boeri.

"It is very difficult to build contemporary architecture in Italy"

"Italian bureaucracy is a very slow elephant," says Novembre as he takes us from the traditional street of Corso Como up to the new Unicredit Tower by César Pelli, which was completed in 2011. "It surprised me very much to see this intervention that was actually finished, was actually completed."

Novembre continues: "If you think that this is a country where to make a subway takes 20 or 30 years. This is not very Italian. It is super finished, very high-quality; I'm proud of it. It's really going to change this part of the city."

"It is very difficult to build contemporary architecture in Italy"
Bosco Verticale by Stefano Boeri Architetti

Novembre then takes us past the Unicredit Tower and points out Stefano Boeri's pair of Boscale Verticale towers situated on the other side of the park, which will support 900 trees on their facades when they are completed later in 2013.

"It is very difficult to build contemporary architecture in Italy"

"Let me tell you, [Porta Nuova] is unusual," Novembre says. "It's unusual because Italy is the country of never ending stories. In Italy you start things, but you never finish them. So this is a very good example of how you can solve the bureaucracies in a magical way and finish the site and actually build it."

"It is very difficult to build contemporary architecture in Italy"
Courtyard beneath Unicredit Tower

"It's also quite unusual because it's difficult for people to talk about contemporary architecture and contemporary design in a country that is so much linked to the past," he continues.

"It is very difficult to build contemporary architecture in Italy"
Corso Como, Milan

"You know, whenever you try to to propose something new people say 'ah, but we have such a tradition.' This tradition often blocks the wheel of change in this country."

"It is very difficult to build contemporary architecture in Italy"
Fabio Novembre

Watch all our video reports from Milan »

The music featured in this movie is a track called Where are Your People? by We Have Band. You can listen to the full track on Dezeen Music Project.