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Rai in Rome or Milan? The answer is (perhaps) in Europe

The Rai headquarters in Corso Sempione in Milan

Only the strengthening of one of the many offices or a tug-of-war between powers and interests? There is something nebulous in the story of the possible investment of Rai in Milan, with the opening (after millionaire works) of the new headquarters of the Portello.

The news was leaked in an anomalous way, considering that it is a public company almost comparable to a ministry: a document for the launch of the new Milanese headquarters at Portello, in the former exhibition center, was approved by the outgoing Rai top management (the renewal of the BoD is imminent). Beyond the formal announcement, the document began to circulate and with it the figures of the operation. There is talk of 135 million euros, between renovations and implementation, to be invested until 2052 for a rental structure that would replace both the Milanese offices, Corso Sempione and via Mecenate; the latter (although it is also rented) was the subject of works four years ago for two million euros. The record figures of the Milan project have made a large part of the Parliament jump on their seats; in the front line the Roman Democratic Party which fears to see the leadership of the Capitoline RAI office further weaken.

The Rai Production Center in Via Mecenate

Net of the political question (which dates back to 2014, when Milan and the pro-Northern parties claimed a stronger participation in the productions of the public company), questions arise on the organizational perspectives, on the cultural and productive imprint and, last but not least, on investments of public money resulting from the operation, assuming that it goes through. Where is the prow of the Rai ship pointing? Apart from vague claims of a parochial nature, worthy of a post-war country, no voice has been raised, neither from the management, nor from politics, nor, even if only outside the lines, from eminent personalities professionally linked to the company, who explain what economic or cultural need does a plan of this type correspond to.

The Palazzo della Rai in Rome, the work of Francesco Berarducci (1966)
The Palazzo della Rai in Rome, the work of Francesco Berarducci (1966)

Viale Mazzini and the remediation of asbestos

Meanwhile, the Roman headquarters in Viale Mazzini, one of the few Italian buildings in the Brutalist style, built in 1966 by the architect Francesco Berarducci (Rome, 1924 – 1992), has been waiting for the asbestos removal for more than twenty years. Partial work had been done only on the top floor, the one occupied by the management. The total dismantling of the carcinogenic mineral would cost around forty million euros, including the temporary transfer of workers to another location. But with so many employees now in smart working, it is difficult to predict whether the remediation of the historic building is one of the company’s priorities. The Rai headquarters in Corso Sempione in Milan also have a respectable architectural value, having been designed in 1939, in a rationalist style, by Giò Ponti for the headquarters of EIAR, the national radio which was the ancestor of Rai. What would happen to this prestigious building once it is decommissioned? Someone talks about the downsizing of the headquarters, others about sales to meet the costs of the new center.

Annalisa Bruchi, general secretary of Prix Italia and presenter on Rai2
Annalisa Bruchi, general secretary of Prix Italia and presenter on Rai2

The Prix Italia 2021 in Milan

As regards contents and immediate perspectives, the 73rd edition of the Prix Italia, an audiovisual competition organized by Rai, which this year takes place in Milan from 14 to 18 June, was announced in recent days. On the official website (all in English), the Prix Italia Staff welcomes by writing that it was a real fortune to be able to complete the last edition of the competition in Rome, but that there are important news: in 2021 Prix Italia takes place in Milan is in June, a month favorable to outdoor events compatible with the pandemic. Title of the new edition, “Rebuilding Culture and Entertainment. Media’s Role for a New Start “. The opening ceremony is scheduled at the Teatro alla Scala, in the presence of the mayor of Milano Sala, the president of Rai Marcello Foa, the president of the Senate Alberti Casellati, the artistic director of the Teatro alla Scala, Dominique Meyer, the Minister for Culture Franceschini. , the president of the Lombardy Region Fontana, the president of the Prix Italia Graham Ellis (British, head of BBC productions) and the general secretary of the Prix Italia, the Rai2 journalist Annalisa Bruchi. Through the Rai press releases we learn that Mediaset and Radio24 del Sole24 ore are returning to the competition after a long absence; as well as a marked increase in British and French productions in competition. General evidence of Rai’s approach (including physical) to Europe?

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