Myth and Nature: from the exhibition to the city

For its importance and the additional initiatives it inspired, one of the most prominent exhibitions produced and organised by Electa in 2015 was the Mito e Natura. Dalla Grecia a Pompei (Myth and Nature. From Greece to Pompeii) exhibition. Produced to coincide with Expo 2015 and held at Palazzo Reale in Milan from 31 July 2015 to 10 January 2016, through 180 Greek, Magna Graecian and Roman works of art the exhibition examined an unfamiliar aspect of the Classical world: its representation of nature in its various guises.

The exhibition project was promoted by the Municipality of Milan together with the Universities of Milan and Salerno, the Archaeology Museum of Naples and the special governmental body for Pompeii, Ercolano and Stabia and was included in Expo in Città, the series of cultural initiatives that took place in Milan during the six months of Expo 2015.

The exhibition, curated by Gemma Sena Chiesa and Angela Pontrandolfo and produced by Francesco Venezia, was complemented with other initiatives in order to bring its content to a wider audience.

The content of the exhibition was described online by the Mito e Natura blog, a web communications project entirely developed by archaeology PhD students from Milan University under the guidance of Federica Giacobello: using a genuine online storytelling approach, the exhibited works were discussed following the stages of the exhibition process, from their site to their location in Palazzo Reale, and their history and relevance examined in depth in order to acquaint the general public with them.

Between September and December the University of Milan, in association with the Municipality and Electa, organised a programme of 13 events entitled “Mito e Natura. Il Fuorimostra”, which took a close look at some of the individual works of particular artistic and historical value at the exhibition, and involved reflections and discussions on themes suggested by the exhibition, conferences and science conventions. The meetings, free and open to all, were held in various locations in the city, from the Napoleonic Hall in Palazzo Greppi to the Natural History Museum, the Poldi Pezzoli Museum and the conference hall of Palazzo Reale.

The topic of the opening event of “Mito e Natura. Il Fuorimostra” was another complementary initiative, the Viridarium project by the Orticola di Lombardia Association. This garden created in the rear courtyard of Palazzo Reale by architects Marco Bay and Filippo Pizzoni and inspired by the spectacular House of the Golden Bracelet fresco of Pompeii on display at the exhibition, enchanted visitors with all the atmosphere, colours and fragrances of a 1st century A.D. Roman garden.

St-Art: young talent on show

The St-Art event is a cultural project organised by Mondadori Retail in association with Milo Goj’s Art Relation; it was developed with the aim of presenting and promoting emerging artists of under 40 years of age, putting them in contact with a diverse public through live performances and temporary exhibitions.

At the Mondadori Megastore in Piazza Duomo in Milan, on a monthly basis from 8 September 2015 to March 2016, seven up-and-coming artists took turns to appear in a performance during which they completed one of their works – a painting, installation or digital work – in the presence of the public. Every performance was inspired by a specific theme, from music to fashion, reading to travel.

At the end of the performance, at the megastore events space, the artist’s personal exhibition was opened, which lasted for a month; an art expert and the artists themselves presented the exhibitions and interacted with the public, who were able to get better acquainted with their work and purchase it.

The project was endorsed by artist Marco Lodola, active in the field of sculpture for years with pop-style light installations who, for the Mondadori Megastore in Piazza Duomo, created Eden, a neon installation on the front of the store that depicts a luminous dancer, symbol of femininity and the uncontaminated Garden of Eden, holding a red apple whose colour symbolises life and passion.

The following artists participated in the project: Marco Abisso (theme: music), Alban Met Hasani (theme: reading), Stefany Savino (theme: children), Kalina Danailova (theme: Christmas), Jang Sung An (theme: the winter), Lucia Guadalupe Guillen (theme: fashion) and Giovanni Manzoni Piazzalunga (theme: travel).

Energy for Creativity: the 18th Interni exhibition event for the Fuorisalone

Like every year, to coincide with the Milan Furniture Fair Interni magazine held a major exhibition event as part of the FuoriSalone (the series of initiatives held in the city during the period of the trade fair): the 2015 edition, Energy for Creativity, held in association with Expo 2015 and endorsed by the Municipality of Milan, took place in the courtyards of Milan University between 13 April and 24 May.

Conceived as a space for experimenting with original installations and architecture and design projects inspired by the sustainable future of cities, Energy for Creativity welcomed the creative contributions of world-renowned designers and architects, from Daniel Libeskind and Antonio Citterio to Berard Khoury, Philippe Starck and many others.

The event programme also included themed exhibitions, performances, conferences and meetings, all open to the public and free of charge.

The initiatives included The garden of Wonders. A journey through Scents, an exhibition developed and promoted by the international Be Open foundation on the relationship between scents and design and held at the Brera botanical garden.

This location (managed by the University of Milan), site of the old astronomical observatory and the historic Palazzo di Brera, has been the subject of a general redevelopment project that began in 2013 and which involves Interni magazine, Associazione Amici di Brera and the Milan Rotary Club.

The Interni redevelopment project has already involved conservation work on the education room at the botanical garden and plans to develop a permanent environmentally-sustainable lighting system and an energy efficiency project by accessing the underlying aquifer.

Panorama d’Italia

Between April and November 2014, weekly magazine Panorama promoted the first edition of Panorama d’Italia initiative, a journey through Italy to discover ten of its cities: Reggio Calabria, Lecce, Ancona, Parma, Verona, Verbania, Brescia, Viterbo, Catania and Salerno. The Panorama d’Italia mobile editorial station (the “Dome”) spent four days in each of these cities, organising a series of events and forums.

As well as for editorial reasons, Panorama also launched this initiative to give a voice to cities that have been neglected by the mainstream media, i.e. those areas that over the years have not been the focus of media attention or which have been subject only to clichés. The cities involved in the project were chosen in accordance with this goal: depressed areas, or areas regarded as depressed, that have a great deal to offer but which have received little promotion over the years. The intrinsic aim of the project also shaped the choice of the methods used to convey the information: in fact, for the entire duration of the event, Panorama worked with local newspapers that had lost their “editorial vocation” over the years to help restore them as the mouthpieces of their communities.

The initiative stood out for its “cross media” approach: each event was transmitted via streaming on the dedicated website (www.panoramaditalia.it), on R101 and on television on TGCOM 24 (event partner). In addition, in the “Dome” there was a “social wall” that was designed to collect the general public’s comments and activities on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This multi-channel approach enabled Panorama to reach out to a larger and younger public.

In fact, one of the main goals of the tour was that of introducing young adults to the concrete possibility of opening a business, a start-up with an innovative organisational or production approach, active in the digital economy. To this end, every stage involved a series of conferences, workshops, events with high-profile figures from the worlds of politics and national enterprise, meetings between universities, start-ups and the business world organised in association with Invitalia (the Italian agency for investment promotion and enterprise development, which allocated euro 180 million for startups in the South of Italy), with local Chambers of Commerce and with the Ferdinando Napolitano’s Italian Business & Investment Initiative, which followed events from New York.

Aside from the events closely connected with work and enterprise there were also moments dedicated to some of Italy’s finest products: from cinema to food, from books to music and art. As such, there were cooking demonstrations with award-winning or well-known local chefs, guided tours of the most symbolic local works of art by Vittorio Sgarbi, and meetings with authors, showbiz celebrities, actors and directors.

For all these reasons Panorama d’Italia was an initiative that “took” but also “left” something in the cities it visited: it highlighted tangible success stories, it gave young adults tools to access loans, and it created an awareness of the value of the local area. And, in order to understand exactly what it left in each city, Panorama plans to return to the cities it visited in 2014 and monitor the progress made after the event.

The figures related to this unprecedented event for Mondadori were remarkable: the forty-day tour involved over 500 businesses and 11 universities, and over 100 successful start-ups were presented; around 80,000 spectators took part as well as 300 speakers. The website produced over 420 posts, shared on the social media by almost 220,000 followers, with over 10,000 tweets and retweets. There were also 300 videos posted online and 77 live streams amounting to 100 hours of broadcasts for a total of 154,000 unique users connected. In addition to these there were the contacts provided by the 400 local media, involved as partners or more simply as reporters on the tour events. The overall audience reached therefore rises to 3 million Italians with 100 million total contacts.

The success of Panorama d’Italia has convinced Mondadori to hold it again in 2015 with the aim of doing much more and making the initiative more engaging, primarily by asking Italian cities to put themselves forwards as candidates.

Expo Express

The most structured public relations initiative in 2014 was the ExpoExpress project. ExpoExpress, the Expo Milano 2015 exhibition train developed by Expo, Mondadori and Ferrovie dello Stato, travelled across Italy to showcase the values of the universal exposition that will be held in Milan from 1 May 2015 on the theme of “Feeding the planet, energy for life”.

The train left on 30 August 2014 and travelled the peninsula, from Venice to Reggio Calabria (14 December), stopping in the 15 biggest Italian cities during their most significant events: in Venice during the Film Festival, in Trieste during the Barcolana, in Bari for the Fiera del Levante, in Rome for the International Film Festival. During its long journey, ExpoExpress hosted a whole series of projects, events, shows, cooking demonstrations, fashion casting calls and meetings with Expo Milano 2015 testimonials and ambassadors, organised in association with the Mondadori magazines Donna Moderna, Grazia, Sale&Pepe, Starbene and TuStyle.

ExpoExpress was above all a place for sharing and describing the experiences of people that have managed to turn their dreams into reality thanks to Sogni possibili, the first example of mobile journalism in Italy, conceived by Donna Moderna. This project consists of a web series that, with the help of a smartphone, collected the stories of everyday people that changed their jobs or routines in order to chase their dreams. The videos spotlighted those who, with bravery and determination, undertook ambitious projects – in groups, in couples or professionally – that all shared a desire to change, and the possibility of sharing and involving others. The stars of the Sogni Possibili web series climbed aboard the train and, stop after stop, told their stories, which were featured every week in Donna Moderna and online at possibili.donnamoderna.com.