Exactly one year ago in Milan, we inaugurated ‘OPEN | more than books’, an innovative space designed to be not only a place for buying books and furniture but also a site of sociality, sharing and openness..
We have always believed in relationships and in design that favours them. This is why we participated in the creation of this multifunction space, where the boundaries are erased and where you can do a bit of everything: meet, be alone, work, chat, eat and buy.
For the first anniversary, we interviewed our partner Giorgio Fipaldini, the creator and CEO of OPEN.
Time to take stock. How was OPEN’s first year?
To paraphrase the French writer Guy de Maupassant, the start of a start-up is never what you think it will be. And this makes it as exciting as it is unpredictable.
Literature aside, OPEN is getting ready to close the books for its first year of activity with positive results and all of our business areas signalling growth in sales and margins. Brand awareness has increased beyond expectations. Saying OPEN in Milan means talking about a place, a bookshop, a design space, a co-working space and a place with ‘status’.
How was the idea for this space born?
Like all ideas: out of curiosity.
Today, the publishing sector is in crisis. People are buying fewer books: they are reading more than before, but in new ways and in different places.
This creates an opportunity for a new kind of bookshop, unlike traditional ones: larger, digital and following a logic of influence and collaboration.
Using this logic of influence, we united the world of culture with that of work, creating a unique, innovative place with a home-like atmosphere created by a strategic partner: Lago. This is why it would be reductive to call OPEN just a bookshop. It is a place that aims to offer everyone—students, professionals and families—services, stimulus and, above all, experiences. It is a cultural ecosystem in line with the Spirit of the Age.
Considering your initial expectations, what came as a positive surprise??
The companies: the speed with which companies and professionals rented out spaces shows how well the OPEN format works. Offering the added value of culture along with professional, customised services meets one of the specific needs of our time: seeking out content and experiences.
The students also surprised us, not in terms of their turnout but in terms of their participation in OPEN.
An expectation that was instead fully satisfied was public participation in our events, with an average of 30 participants per event and about 40 events per month. These are results that a few big culture-focused stores envy.
Three people you would invite to sit down at the LAGO COMMUNITY TABLE at OPEN.
If I have to name names: Brunello Cuccinelli, for his innovative, uncommon entrepreneurial vision, like that of Lago, Banksy, for the artistic and social stimulus and Lizzie Velasquez, for learning how to live.
How do you envision OPEN’s future?
Nietzsche’s secret to happiness was a yes, a no, a straight line and a goal. I do not see the future of OPEN in such a linear way. I see it impervious and unexplored, ambitious and gratifying. We have received many requests to open new ones in other cities, even outside Italy, and so we are defining our development plan from an international perspective. For 2015, one of the first changes will be the direct management of the Food&Beverage area, with the collaboration of industry experts.
If you haven’t been there yet, you can find OPEN at viale Montenero, 6 in Milan.
To see shared photos of OPEN, click here.
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