Interview to Esterni

May 28, 2010

As I mentioned in the previous posts, the Public Design Festival was organized by the group Esterni. Esterni is a cultural association which promotes outdoor events in order to encourage people to live their city in a different way. This morning I had the chance to talk with Anna Spreafico, coordinator of public-space project for Esterni from 2004.

Which is the main idea, the values of Esterni? Why do you choose public spaces and how do you interpret them?

Our mission is to increase the value of public spaces and to promote a cultural growth. To achieve this, we create temporary events that go from cinema to music to design. In fact we believe that people need to enjoy public spaces as places to meet, to socialize and to rest: that’s the reason why we choose public spaces, a choice that, by the way, is well expressed by the name of the association.

How is the internal organization of the group?

We have 22 employees who work in the head office in via Lambruschini 36, Milan. Their activities go from coordinating and organizing projects to fund raising, graphics and communication. Furthermore, we have some external co-workers whom we assign some part of the projects (for istance the graphics for the Milano Film Festival) and students from academies who collaborate with us.

You have just mentioned fund raising activities. So Esterni is a no-profit association, isn’t it?

Yes, Esterni is a no-profit association with cultural purposes. Nonetheless, we are organized as an enterprise: any employee has his own competence and we draw up a business plan at the beginning of every year with the projects, costs and contracts scheduled. So we work hard to promote cultural values but we try to be a “sane” association too.

How was the Public Design Festival 2010 organized?

We worked hard for six months to set it: some of us projected the contents, others dealed with the fund raising, others worked to promote the event (communication, website, community,…). During the event we had to welcome the guests and we also set up some info-points for the visitors. Luckily we were supported by some volunteers.

Where did you find the money for that project? Did the City of Milan finance it?

No, the City of Milan didn’t give us money but it patronized the exhibition. Normally we ask private and public enterprises for contributes, then we cover the remaining costs with direct takings such as selling tickets, merchandising, etc. The Public Design Festival was financed by private enterprises and direct takings.

How do you choose a new project? And how do you select the artists then?

We always try to do something new and inedited, so we are costantly looking for new ideas for our projects. Then, when the idea comes to our minds, we search for young and unknown talents. For the Public Design Festival we organized a competition opened to every country of the world. Looking through websites, blogs, e-mails and encouraging students from academies to partecipate, we eventually had 700 proposals from 50 countries. Afterwards, a team composed by some of us selected the best projects.

Do you realize your projects also in other cities in Italy? And in other countries?

In other italian cities yes, for example we are organizing an event called “allariscossa”, in collaboration with FAI, in Milan, Perugia and Palermo. It will consist of a treasure hunt and some road tests to involve people to rediscover public spaces and artistic locations. Up to now he have done just a few projects in other countries but we wish to do it more in the future.

For further information, visit the website http://www.esterni.org/eng/home/


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