Interview with Tommaso Borioli, CEO of SuperStudio Events, an event management company part of the SuperStudio Group
Superstudio, a name that in Milan has long stood for design, photography, exhibition halls and recently, more and more event spaces.
Superstudio 13 was established in 1983 as a hub of photography studios for fashion and advertisement. Over 37 years in the business, the greatest photographers in the world have been there, from Irving Penn to Helmut Newton, from Richard Avedon to Paolo Roversi, from Oliviero Toscani to Giovanni Gastel… for all of them, even the least known, Superstudio 13 has been and still is home, the place where you know how you will work, where you know that problems can be solved and that everyone is there to help you do a good job. A place of creativity that has experienced very few moments of crisis in the past years, luckily. Then, twenty years ago, Superstudio Più was born. Since then, we have been bringing our ethics and know-how to the world of events, and have created the biggest private location for events in Milan, where to host small, big, and huge events with the utmost care for quality. Our two poles will be joined this year by Superstudio MAXI, our latest addition, a cutting-edge location on several levels – from its project to sustainability, energy, volumes, technical structures, and more – that will give the city a versatile, convenient, open and transversal space like no other.
How has your group faced the traditional business disruptions caused by the pandemic?
At first we waited, it was an incredulous wait. We never thought that that situation would go on so for long. But as early as April, we understood that we could not just stand by. So we created a virtual set for online events in our largest hall, complying even with the strictest restrictions – a LED screen 18 meter long and 6 meter high, with full streaming coverage thanks to our 1,000 MB broadband. We were the first to invest in virtual and hybrid events, which have worked well for our bravest clients.
How do you think the event industry will change in 2021?
It is not an easy prediction to make. Surely, the widespread use of various platforms like Zoom and Google Meet has made all generations more familiar with digital solutions, and has made it clear that it is possible to successfully attend a debate, a concert, a speech straight from home, with no additional transportation costs. I believe that at least for this year, we will not be able to do without relying significantly on streaming platforms. However, we are social animals that live in groups: being apart for so long does not do us any good. For 2021, we have many options of hybrid events, which are much different than live ones in terms of quality and related issues – video shootings for fashion, many catalogues, virtual fashion shows, meetings and speeches by remarkable guests. Meanwhile, there is a distant chance that projects of hosting live events with the highest levels of safety could be resumed; we will see where this goes.
What changes have you introduced, and what projects are in progress?
As I said, the main change is about using web technologies, which have allowed us to create a permanent studio with big LED screens on the walls for an immersive experience, plus several improvements to have more sustainable spaces, now a primary issue for all companies. We have introduced a strict anti-Covid 19 medical protocol that ensures a high level of sanitization of the spaces and respect of the procedures, which is really important for an event to be safe. The latest projects are mainly about our new location, Superstudio MAXI, a 7,200 square meter single space near the Romolo area, which had long been under restoration, where we have brought our 20-year experience in the world of events. The location will be completed at the end of January, and it will be ready to host business events and trade fairs, as well as cultural and social initiatives.
What does working in his family’s business mean to Tommaso?
I have grown up at Superstudio, I know every corner, every brick, every bolt of it. As a child, I would already dream of a future where it could expand and grow. My family never forced me into this. Right after I graduated, since I had already helped and learned the job as an intern or helper in the summer when I was still in high school, I offered to take care of the event area on my own, as it needed a boost. I gave it all I had, all my goals and many dreams. From an original operating team of three people, the company now counts fifteen skilled professionals; in five years, it has well exceeded my most optimistic expectations. I have a productive dialogue with my family, who still owns the properties and other assets, and I have been invited to join SuperStudio Group’s board to bring some fresh air to it.
What does this entail?
Being able to collaborate not as a relative, but as a professional, which demands a double, even triple effort and mediation skills. But I am happy that my aunt and uncle’s dream (the founders of Superstudio, Ed.) can live on and grow with their blessing.
Interview by Maria Mele