Italians in London | Italians in London Francesca Onori
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Francesca Onori

Photo and concept by © Rob Venom 2022

I was born by the sea, not far from Rome, then adopted by the capital and its strange inhabitants. After graduating and travelling for study and internships in Europe and the US (to experiment with sustainable architecture with Soleri in his desert utopia), I acquired a second adoptive home in London, or perhaps the city kidnapped me.
What do you do in your life in London?
I’m an architect and designer, curious about the world and a keen observer of people – in London I’ve found the eccentric, lively, demanding and pressurised environment that I needed in order to achieve the best results in my work and life. It’s rich in everything and brimming with diversity – the same diversity that brought me here.
What is the reason to leave Italy and come to London?
I arrived almost 3 years ago for a European research project on planning and design for autism, special needs, disability and other conditions. I then found work with ga Architects, a firm and a family who have specialised in this type of architecture for over 30 years.
What were your best and worst experiences in London.
London itself is the best experience and the the worst experience would be if I hadn’t made the move.
I asked you to choose a place in London that you like or you are tied to, what was your choice and why you made it?
Southbank is my favourite place, surrounded by concrete and people who, along with events and the changing time of day, make this part of the Thames riverbank different every time.
“People don’t fall in love with the buildings; they fall in love with the things made possible because of the buildings.”
During your early times in London, did you have any problem?
No, not really. I’m a person who loves to solve problems – maybe I’m crazy or just lucky!
What do you think about this project?
I was struck by the project because I want to try to explain the unexplainable reasons for being an expat in such a hostile city that you can only understand by living here and by casting aside your prejudices.
How do you think you could support and promote Italian culture? 
Italian culture promotes itself; I can only show that Italians are not only the stereotypical images of coffee, pizza and pasta: we are just as much hard workers as anyone else in Europe.