Ilenia and Christopher of Neni Studio and their life and work cycle in Berlin
Dear Ilenia and Christopher, please tell us;
Who you are
Ilenia Martini and Christopher Filippone here, we are the founders of Neni Studio, a creative agency specialized in visual communication aimed for social media. We work closely with brands, designers and design studios in the field of interior and design. Our clients share three key features: they are international, have a strong awareness on the importance of new media and pay attention at how they communicate their stories.
We’re both from Italy and lived abroad for over fifteen years, between Europe and United States where we gained a wealth of experience. Our backgrounds go from photography to filmmaking and art direction, giving us the opportunity to offer clients a full support on their communication needs.
Creativity is the act of materializing something that previously existed only within the mind, as an idea. This is the huge difference that separates creatives from artists. Art doesn’t come from the mind, art comes from a place deep inside or, as writer Robert Olen Butler says, art comes from the place where you dream.
Creativity is a sort of common good, we all are carriers of it and we can apply it to solve everyday problems. But, as well as for art, creativity needs daily practice and focus, plus courage and an healthy dose of recklessness.
Structure your creative process
We define ourselves as storytellers in the heart, and a storyteller can’t tell you something he/she doesn’t know. Therefore at the beginning of our creative process there’s the study, followed by a deep understanding of the needs of our clients and of their dna/who they are. This can seem pretty obvious but it’s not, it is actually a point where often clients are struggling in finding a clear definition of themselves, how they are different from competitors, how to position themselves on the market. On the other hand, have you ever tried to write a definition of yourself on a piece of paper? It is a tough life changing experience.
The second step is to understand who the client wants to speak to, who is his/her audience, true or aspirational. These informations put together point us to the right direction, either we have to elaborate a social media strategy or to create content in the form of photo, video or copywriting.
After this preliminary work we start the real creative process. As a duo we share our thoughts, putting on the table all of our ideas without any sort of filters, there is no good or bad. We then start connecting the dots, doing research, defining what is the contribution that each of the two can give to the project and also understanding what we can delegate to the rest of the team.
What makes a city creative?
Diversity. We think this is the most important fuel for creativity. The more diverse a city is, the more its people are coming from all over the world, the more energetic, vibrating and creative the scene is. New York City is the best example of it;
The amount of youth. Young restless and reckless inhabitant are the fundamental propeller for creativity. A gentrified city has the interest to produce goods and services, there is no place neither demands for creativity.
What a city has to offer to creatives? Neither to say but creatives are curious people. A city that has nothing to offer in terms of event and places dedicated to the various arts is a place that doesn’t feed the hunger of a creative.
Cheap places where to live, cheap places where to work, cheap places where to gather, cheap places where to drink coffee. Cheap places anyhow and anyway. Every creative soul at the beginning has to struggle, therefore they must be allowed to do it without risking starvation and or eviction.
Connection to the rest of the world. We talk for experience, our own experience, and what we constantly hear from other people. Creatives need to travel, to connect easily (and again, affordably) with other people all over the world. A place that is not well connected via flight, with a derelict airport or located far away from the city well, it is not a first choice for creatives. Of course also connections inside the city have to work properly. In other words the rule is simple, do not slow down a creative.
What makes your city creative?
Berlin is constantly changing, quite a lot. As of today all of the above listed points are valid, more or less. Berlin is a city that has a lot to offer to creative people. Beside all the techno, underground and party scene is a hub for start ups. The city is full of museums of any kind, of music venues, sports venues, cinemas projecting movies in original language. Berlin remains an important destination for artists, musicians, performers from all over the world and it is also the house of the important Berlinale Film Festival. The city has the vital need to be well connected to the rest of Europe and the world, indeed there are two airports, one of them very close to the center. Public transportation works efficiently and the city, as huge as it is, it’s easily connected. Talking about its size, there are many neighborhood in Berlin, and several of them are still quite cheap in terms of rents. Here the situation is changing fast, ten years ago rents and property were both way cheaper. Still, Berlin is incredibly cheap compared to other city capitals in Europe, also as regards the costs of living in general.
Even though Germany as a nation is not the most diverse one, Berlin has a notable amount of foreign residents and english is the second language here. For us, having lived in United States, Italy and UK, having the chance to keep speaking english in the every day life was very important since we are an international creative studio.
Visualize the map of your city showing your life and work cycle