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Blog 1702 Nd46651

Magnolia: changing the face of Milan

Beyond the most fashionable streets and design quarters, outside the new city centres frequented by artists and creative types, there’s a side of Milan which is growing and enhancing its suburbs.

Once-for­got­ten places are increas­ingly becom­ing incub­at­ors of cre­at­ive, inter­est­ing com­pan­ies and Cir­colo Magno­lia is the per­fect example of this pro­cess. Found out­side the city lim­its, it’s loc­ated with­in the Idro­scalo Park near a large reflect­ive body of water which was ori­gin­ally cre­ated as a sea­plane run­way and now acts as a sport­ing hub and one of Milan’s green spaces.

Magno­lia resides next to an amuse­ment park, giv­ing off UK vibes of Brighton Pier. It’s open all year round and each sea­son brings a renov­a­tion of its spaces with new stages and envir­on­ment­ally sus­tain­able upgrades. Between an ample var­ied music pro­gramme and all-encom­passing ini­ti­at­ives that span from cinema to art to edu­ca­tion, it’s one of the top places to be if you hap­pen to find your­self in Milan.

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We sat down for a chat with Nich­olas and Stefano, Pres­id­ent and Vice-Pres­id­ent of the Magno­lia Asso­ci­ation respect­ively, and among the 30 stars of the Faces of neubau” pho­to­graphy project.

Magno­lia lies out­side the clas­sic hubs of Mil­anese night­life yet man­ages to be, with its event pro­gramme and qual­ity music, one of the most inter­na­tion­al clubs of Mil­an. In your opin­ion, what are the factors that con­trib­uted to its suc­cess?
Con­sist­ency first and fore­most. We didn’t set up our pro­ject based on profit, but rather shaped it round an artist­ic idea. Our status as an asso­ci­ation helps us: each year we are obliged to rein­vest our earn­ings with­in the ven­ue. This means con­tinu­ously upgrad­ing the struc­tures, equip­ment which is always on the cut­ting edge, new attrac­tions and oppor­tun­it­ies for our users and the artists who come to play at Magno­lia. We also can afford to sched­ule even­ings with musi­cians who might not be the biggest names but who allow us to broaden the range of what we offer. In that way we reach dif­fer­ent niches and strengthen per­son­al rela­tion­ships with artists who in the future might blow up and come back to us when they’re at the top, even if our ven­ue doesn’t quite have the capa­city of a sta­di­um. This year we built a new main stage for out­door sum­mer events, we expan­ded our culin­ary options and we’re focus­ing on invest­ing even fur­ther in the qual­ity of our beverages.

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Many cit­ies in Europe and bey­ond are build­ing their artist­ic and cul­tur­al centres through a revalu­ation of sub­urbs and old indus­tri­al areas. Mil­an is no excep­tion and Magno­lia is be an example of this. What are the neigh­bour­hoods and the cit­ies that most inspired you for the cre­ation and evol­u­tion of the ven­ue?
More than cit­ies or quar­ters, we draw inspir­a­tion from large European music fest­ivals, which if you look care­fully all take place in small towns, not in large urb­an centres. So, we want to cre­ate this atmo­sphere of a vil­lage, with music, relax­a­tion, good food, artist install­a­tions, sport and enter­tain­ment. This is the dir­ec­tion we’re tak­ing with our events, which aren’t lim­ited to music­al per­form­ances or to a tem­por­ary place for nightlife.

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The music pro­gramme at Magno­lia is very dense and diverse, both in sum­mer and winter. What per­form­ances in recent years are you most proud of?
It would be easy to respond with well-known names. We’ve hos­ted the Edit­ors, Flume and Cari­bou just to name a few of the most recent ones. But really what we’re most proud of is the rela­tion­ships we’ve been able to estab­lish with artists that, over time, even when they get big­ger and have more fol­low­ers, have chosen to return to Magno­lia to per­form over more prof­it­able ven­ues with great­er capa­city. Dub FX, 2ManyDJs or Fritz Kalk­bren­ner for example. Like we said before, we have focused quite a bit on the qual­ity of the struc­tures, the equip­ment and the atmo­sphere. When a musi­cian comes to us, he or she knows that there won’t be any tech­nic­al prob­lems and that things will go smoothly. This is also reflec­ted on the audi­ence, for the qual­ity of the per­form­ance and sound.

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Sol­ar pan­els, attent­ive recyc­ling and a forest in the city. More than a ven­ue, Magno­lia seems like a true urb­an oas­is. Is the atten­tion to the envir­on­ment a need more than a choice for you? How do young people react to the choices you’ve made in favour of sus­tain­ab­il­ity?
The fact that we must con­tinu­ously rein­vest our profits as an asso­ci­ation allows us to dir­ect resources where we feel it’s best for growth and improve­ment. Without a doubt, hav­ing zero impact on the envir­on­ment is one of our goals and the large invest­ment which we made in recent years for the install­a­tion of sol­ar pan­els and the sys­tem for heat exchange with the water in Idro­scalo Lake is proof of that. Prob­ably in the day-to-day it’s hard to notice any appre­ci­ation from our cus­tom­ers in terms of these types of choices. But when we star­ted a crowd­fund­ing cam­paign to sup­port the pur­chase of the pan­els, we raised an amount that abso­lutely exceeded our expect­a­tions, with indi­vidu­al dona­tions of hun­dreds of euros, even from artists who had nev­er played at Magno­lia. This made us truly under­stand how much the con­sist­ency and the effort which we men­tioned before are the indis­pens­able keys to unlock people’s hearts and minds.

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From show­cas­ing films in the sum­mer to host­ing loc­al feasts and foot races, Magno­lia doesn’t just come alive with music. What are your upcom­ing object­ives and hori­zons to be explored?
2 years ago, we set down a path to diver­si­fy the events we offer, pre­cisely to embrace, more and more, that European fest­iv­al mod­el which inspired us. The open-air cinema was a suc­cess­ful pro­ject (des­pite our prox­im­ity to the Lin­ate air­port). We organ­ised a music fest­iv­al for chil­dren, with musi­cians, teach­ers and instru­ments avail­able, and that event’s great suc­cess sur­prised us and was quite grat­i­fy­ing. Anoth­er fant­ast­ic ini­ti­at­ive which was suc­cess­ful bey­ond our expect­a­tions was the Game Boy music course which we hos­ted this year, it was truly won­der­ful. For the future, we’re work­ing to bring a con­cert to the park star­ring a fam­ous young pian­ist. We’d like to do it at dawn, draw­ing a bit of inspir­a­tion from the Sounds of the Dolo­mites. We want to push ourselves even fur­ther bey­ond the every­day’ food and bever­age menu, rais­ing its qual­ity and always increas­ing the choice of what we offer. We’re in Italy – food is cul­ture and we like it.

Let’s play a game. Exclud­ing Mil­an, which has been a buzz for a while and grow­ing to become a cap­it­al of cre­ativ­ity, in what city would you open a new Cir­colo Magno­lia?
[Nich­olas]: Surely it would have to be a small uni­ver­sity town, as young people and uni­ver­sit­ies are the essen­tial motor of move­ment. If I had to choose, I’d say Granada, which I rather like and which is the right size. South­ern Europe is well suited, but even the extreme north, where they invest a lot in cul­ture.
[Stefano]: I agree with Nich­olas, but I’d add Tel Aviv. It’s rich with oppor­tun­ity, always on the go and has cap­tiv­at­ing landscapes.

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What is the next can’t‑miss’ event at Magno­lia? What is one event not at Magno­lia that you want to attend?
15 Feb­ru­ary, Sohn at Magno­lia. He’s one of the greatest manip­u­lat­ors of tempo around, able to recon­cile the most diverse forms of music into some­thing new and unique. As spec­tat­ors, on the oth­er hand, neither of us has ever been to Primavera Sound and we’d really like to go – it could be a great inspir­a­tion to us.

Is there a ride you’d steal from the Idro­scalo amuse­ment park?
Without a doubt: the Fer­ris wheel! But don’t tell the ride attendants…

Blog 1702 Nd46651
10 Mar 2017 · neubau eyewear
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