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ADI Design Museum is hosting, from December 5, 2023 to January 7, 2024, the installation “Drive Different” by Giosuè Boetto Cohen. It is an exhibition and collaborative window on the exhibition “Drive Different – From Austerity to the Future of Mobility,” which the National Automobile Museum opened in Turin on Nov. 23, 2023 and will remain open until April 7, 2024

A reflection on the meaning of individual urban mobility is proposed in Milan: two iconic micro-cars of the past dialogue with their newly presented electric descendants.

Getting around the city in a tiny vehicle with minimal consumption, taking up little space, and right to your doorstep is a choice as old as the automobile. Miniature vehicles already existed in pioneer times, and even the first gasoline-powered car in history, the Patent-Motorwagen, was six feet long.

Today we look at micro-cars with different eyes, as one of the possible answers to the problem of urban mobility. An almost custom-made object, for many but not for all, which organized and shared, can, however, turn into a public service. At least where viable alternatives do not exist.

The beautiful Isetta, somewhat snubbed by the Italians, somewhat sabotaged by Fiat, was welcomed by the Germans with grateful hearts and helped save BMW’s destiny. Today it occupies a large room in the company’s museum in Munich.

The Topolino of 1936, arrived too early for people’s pockets and too late to escape the war. But beyond the Alps, where the market was ten times larger, the Simca brand immediately made it France’s first hatchback.

What, then, links Dante Giacosa’s idea to the Electric Mickey Mouse in 2023? And what brings the Isetta of seventy years ago closer to the fledgling Microlino, which echoes its lines so well? We ask ourselves by looking at them together here, on a stage layout imagined by Giorgetto Giugiaro.

The world has changed. The melancholies almost extinct. The great story has not, but in the dominant culture its weight is reduced. Strong remains, however, the desire to move in freedom, individual rather than collective: that pleasure that made all cars the magical product of the 20th century. Freedom at all costs, environmental and wallet, across generations, with a few exceptions for very young citizens, who look at four wheels with a certain disenchantment. Moving “freely” even in the most complex, illogical, sometimes incompatible environment that is urban space. At least as it has changed in the turn of the Short Century, and we are observing it in our time.”

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