There are several perks to working in event planning, one of them being the possibility of working alongside innovators and people with a vision, the very men and women that shape and change the world we live in by opening up new possibilities for all. If you are wondering why event planners should have better chances than other professionals to meet the movers and shakers of our global economy, just think of the process of coming up with something new. What do you do after you have tested your idea and proved that it works or when you need to develop a new project? You tell others about it, starting with those who are closer to you. And the best way of doing that is planning an event in which to present your brand new product, prototype or vision to a chosen crowd. This was the case with the Equity Startup project that our client Ascomfidi launched in June 2016. Ascomfidi is a well-established provider of financial solutions and in 2016 it branched out in the booming field of equity crowdfunding – a funding practice that opens the possibility for small investors to fund startups through a controlled platform, taking on a role that would usually be reserved for angel investors. This is a potential game-changer for the startup economy and we were thrilled to be able to offer our contribution to a successful launch.
Picking the right location for an event: it’s not just about size and budget
When you attend an event, the first thing you get a sense of, even before your arrival, is the chosen location. Where is it? Is it in the city centre or the countryside? Is it easy to reach by public transport or does it require driving? Is it grand and formal or cosy and laid back? What’s its style? Is it a historic mansion or a hip tech hub? Every single one of these aspects and many more come into play when you consider the right venue for an event. The physical place in which the event itself will take place is loaded with layer upon layer of meaning and constitutes a message in its own right. Quality event planning requires awareness of such layers and the ability to use them, in order to communicate. In this instance, we knew that we were dealing with a distinguished client, with an impressive history and that, while the project itself was tuned into the latest developments in financial products, the client’s identity was built on concepts of reliability and professionality. We shortlisted some of the most exclusive and elegant venues in Milan and eventually chose Palazzo Visconti, a magnificent historic mansion in the city centre, in the area known as San Babila. Picking a venue in this part of Milan gives out a clear message: it says that you want to place your project at the very heart of the national and global economy, that you want to be where the real action is, where it matters, with the great and the good, and that you are not settling for anything less than the absolute best.
Palazzo Visconti is one of our favourite venues to work with in Milan. It has all the gravitas that a corporate event of this significance requires, without being impersonal or cold. Its long and distinguished history has shaped its identity and infused its elegant halls with a subtly romantic atmosphere, that tempers the solemnity of an official presentation or a serious conference. While walking through its richly decorated rooms, with their gilded mirrors, period furnishings and stunning frescoes, you will feel the building’s four centuries of tumultuous history vibrating around you. You can almost hear the whispered secrets and the intricate plots of generations of noblemen, as the Palace changed hands from the imperial ambassador Carlo Bolangos to the Visconti di Mordone family. If you are planning an event in Milan and want to leave your guests utterly speechless, this is the venue you need to hire.
Event planning and catering: a delicate balance
Arranging a catering service for such an event is not an easy task. In fact, a significant part of event planning revolves around catering. Venues such as Palazzo Visconti do not usually have kitchens or restaurants, which means the catering has to be hired separately. In this instance, we had to provide for one hundred guests, who would be engaged in an intensive conference. A buffet, of course, is not the same as a seated meal. Your guests will eat standing up and more often than not this choice is intentional: it is meant to allow them to mingle and network over the ultimate socialising element – food – without the constraints of seating at a table. This does not mean, however, that the actual menu should be discounted in favour of the networking potential of the event: a hundred people that have just absorbed a certain amount of complex and interesting information are likely to be properly hungry and you will not get away with snacks and crudités. We planned the catering to be suitably rich and sumptuous, but also practical and easily manageable and, above all, delicious. The company we selected is known for matching exquisite cuisine to superb presentation and for only using top-quality and fresh ingredients, as well as providing an excellent selection of fine wines. The outcome was, as we had anticipated, entirely positive.