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Meet C 41, One of Milan’s Most Unique Creative Collectives


Managing director Leone Balduzzi explains the collective’s culture, ideas and love for brutalist architecture

Meet C 41, One of Milan’s Most Unique Creative Collectives
The C 41 website is a strange, slightly disorientating place to end up as you tumble through links on the Internet. Like you’ve been transported back to 1998, you’re immediately assaulted by pop-up windows that require some kind of attention. But what fills them is much easier to palette than the pop-ups of old - a broad range of artistic and commercial projects showcasing skills in art direction, copywriting, filmmaking and photography. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a bold statement of artistic intent.

Intrigued by the character of the studio, LBB’s Alex Reeves asked managing director and partner Leone Balduzzi to lay it all out.
LBB> When and how did C 41 Studio start?

LB> C 41 Studio is a collective born after Luca Caizzi, founder of C 41 Magazine, and I met. As the owner of a production company, K48 production, I had the need to bring a higher editorial value to the content we were producing, and Luca instead needed to grow from a production point of view. Therefore we came together, and along with our executive producer and partner Barbara Guieu, we funded and created the network C 41, active since April 2017.
LBB> What were your founding principles and hopes for the studio originally?

LB> C 41 is a collective of content creators, photographers, art directors, filmmakers, producers, screen-players and journalists. Our strength finds its roots in the energy of young professionals working for and with us. We talk both to brands and to advertising agencies. 

We aim to tell beautiful stories, but above all, we want to tell them nicely and with an authentic point of view. We developed an editorial line which is very personal and original, trying to bring a disruptive vision to our clients, often belonging to the branches of luxury, design and fashion, with the need to reach out to the young and prestigious target of C 41.
LBB> What does the name represent?

LB> Luca Caizzi, partner and editor in chief of the magazine, came up with the name. He took inspiration from the code name of the process used to develop coloured film. This is because C 41 was born as a magazine with a contemporary vision over analogue photography, therefore coloured, to differentiate from black and white and from the history of photography, without forgetting its very roots.
LBB> What are the various parts of the business and how do they relate to each other?

LB> C 41 is a network ( divided into four sections: the media, the creative studio, the production company, and the talent agency, gathering together a roster of young and talented photographers and directors. Our services can be provided both individually and together, with an overall approach. The baseline of the whole is quality, which is also our business plan.
LBB> What is it about the culture as a company that defines the way you work?

LB> C 41 is a collective based in Milan. We are content creators, we are Italians, and we focus on lifestyle, fashion, design, outdoor, and creative communities. We like to tell stories with an authentic point of view, and with a highly crafted visual aesthetic.
LBB> Can you explain why you created the magazine to go with the other facets of your business?

LB> C  41 Magazine is our state of the art, but it is, above all, our media.

We reach a remarkable number of people everyday online, but the paper publication is also delivered all over the world. With it, we managed to outline our core business, but we also created a whole following that read us all over the world.

Thanks to this we are able to work on projects like native content and branded content, picking up the right target and cluster, which we are certain to strike. Just one more service for our clients. 

LBB> How did 'Waiting for the Weekend' come about with adidas?

LB> adidas reached out to us because they saw our editorial project developed for Nike ‘Kicks and Playgrounds’ - a project that led us to get deep into the Philippine culture in Milan, through basketball. Overall, a great experience.
LBB> What was the main idea there and how did you approach its development?

LB> Luca Caizzi (partner and creative director) and I often work together over the ideas and the developments of our projects. Adidas sneaked up on us, and we had to develop the editorial in a very short time.

We were asked to bring our point of view over the city of Milan to match the launch of their new sneaker ‘Prophere’. We thought to reach the target telling the story through the eyes of Micky, an Eritrean barber who is more of an institution among the Milanese youngsters.
LBB> What other projects would you say have been your biggest successes and why? 

LB> It is for sure worth mentioning the video format we created for Flos: ‘The Light Minded’ and our very first project ‘Listen Carefully’, a short film developed for VFTS which aroused a lot of positive feedback, even if delivered for a less-known brand. Last but not least, the editorial for Technogym ‘Mikkel Karstad’.
LBB>Your website is weird. Why all the boxes? I like it! But it's odd.

LB> Our website can be described as ‘brutalist’, like the architectural movement seen as the crossing of modernism in architecture.
One of the major pieces of brutalism is the Torre Velasca in Milan, we made an homage to our beloved city.
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C41, Thu, 07 Jun 2018 11:40:59 GMT