An Insiders Perspective: Aurora Splendore

Aurora (right) inducting Paola Antonelli (center), Senior Curator of the Department of Architecture & Design as well as the Director of R&D at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City into the ADCI (Art Directors Club Italia) Hall of Fame 2015.

Aurora (right) inducting Paola Antonelli (center), Senior Curator of the Department of Architecture & Design as well as the Director of R&D at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City into the ADCI (Art Directors Club Italia) Hall of Fame 2015.

eyevip may work with numerous event planners on a daily basis, but not many of them have a portfolio like Aurora. Based out of Milan, Aurora Splendore has worked with a range of different companies and organizations, including Nike Training Club, Radio Deejay, Milano Design Awards and IF! Festival.

Hi, Aurora! You've been involved in the event industry in a range of different positions and companies since the beginning of your career. Could you tell us what made you first interested in the event industry in the first place?

Aurora: Oh, I’ll seem crazy, but it wasn’t me that found the industry, but the other way around. I was 23, about to graduate and I needed to complete a work placement. Luckily, an opportunity opened up at the Milan YogaFestival. They needed someone to organize the first YogaFestival in Rome. At this time, I knew nothing about yoga or the events industry, but I accepted and moved to Milan. It was a great experience but after successfully putting on the event I didn’t know whether I would continue in the events world or not.

At the time the event industry seemed so easy, so trivial, even fun. However, in my mind a job couldn’t be easy and fun. I then understood something fundamental: it was not a simple and fun job, not at all. It was simple and fun for me….so maybe I had found the right job for me – or rather, the job had found me!

Have you seen a change in the event industry over time? If so, how has it changed? Has it changed for the better or for the worse?

Aurora: The events industry is huge and extremely varied, it’s difficult to define the changes. However, one thing is certain: the events industry has consolidated. There are so many more events than a few years ago. People talk about events more. Many advertising agencies and companies have decided to integrate an events department to offer end-to-end solutions. Event slogans are not enough; you need to complement the experience. Events allow you to develop creative ideas in other directions, to experience the product or concept. In an increasingly virtual world, the event industry almost moves backwards because it allows you to live the experience physically and socially. It’s an amazing shift.

How far in advance do you like to start planning your events?

Aurora: You know, it really depends on the event – anywhere from a minimum of two months to a maximum of 1 year in advance.

Unfortunately, the time available, especially for commercial events involving brands, is much narrower making it necessary to speed up the process.

That being said, I can organize business events within a few days, but it’s really stressful and risky. Essentially, the less time you have to plan the event, the more you risk facing difficulties and unexpected hurdles.

What kind of events do you most like to be involved in and why?

Aurora: I prefer cultural events, festivals and generally events that provide content. The reason is simple: they give me something in return in terms of content, social contacts, and public satisfaction. Commercial events are just that – commercial. Cultural events widen the minds and horizons of the participants and those involved.

Do you have any funny or memorable stories to share with us about an event you've planned?

Aurora: I have countless anecdotes, which fortunately most of which I’ve forgotten.

I do have a good story for one of the last events I organized. This event took place inside a car dealership for the launch of a new car model. For the reveal of the car I had planned a smoke machine, which I had tested the night before during set-up, without any issues. Just to be sure, I asked to test the smoke machine again, 30 minutes before the event opening. Of course, this time the fire alarm reacted to the smoke, despite not encountering any problems the night before.

The alarm rang for what seemed like hours, to top it off the alarm service didn’t answer and no one at the dealership had the security code to turn it off. I was pretty worried.

In the end we had to cut the alarm wires, like out of a scene from Hollywood. Luckily though, we decided to test the alarm one more time - think about what it would have been like if it was triggered during the show!

When you organize event teams or the people you work with, what are things that you most look for in someone you work with?

Aurora: First and foremost, problem solving. Without this quality you can’t be an event organizer. Of course, I also look for kind, collaborative, and calm individuals - and irony! During the organization of any event anything can happen and it’s necessary to have a good dose of irony to laugh at the possible disasters, to defuse and avoid nervous breakdowns.

How do you start looking for an event venue? Do you have any insider tips?

Aurora: I can start with two things: the content and the space. To develop content, a proper and well-organized space is necessary and to make a space functional and pleasant, you need excellent content.

What tools do you use to help facilitate your event and the planning that you can no longer work without?

Aurora: The beloved and hated Excel, which thanks to eyevip, I no longer have to deal with. Budget, production plans, to-do lists.

Powerpoint is also extremely useful for designing aesthetics and spaces, and for sharing them with the client. Obviously the layout of the location is necessary to draw all the elements that make up the event space. During the preparation of the event, it’s absolutely necessary for me to have more copies of the final plan and of the production plan. Although I often don’t even look at them, because I already have everything in my head.

Do you have any motto that you live by for your career in the events industry?

Aurora: Be patient, breathe, find a solution. Because during the event you will always need to resolve something unexpected. You have to try to not show to your public and your client what you're trying to resolve. So keep smiling and be funny while in the background your mind runs one million kilometres per hour to find the solution!

What is a unique challenge working in the event industry that other people may not know about?

Aurora: I think the biggest challenge is to provide a new, engaging and fully functional experience. Many events are similar and are repeated because the dynamics are often similar. Building an impactful event that entertains and impresses the public is not a foregone conclusion. You need a great deal of creative contribution and a lot of attention to detail, and a lot of sacrifice.

In my opinion, organizing events means creating value for others. All your power, your skills, to create a service for the community. In short, sharing.

That's why I love my job.