Milan, Italy
Social infrastructure
Rethinking processes and governance
Magnete is a community driven innovation hub, a place of care and culture, of relationship and plurality in the northeast metropolitan area of Milan

Magnete was born in the north-east periphery of Milan, a territory suspended between empty and waiting spaces, former industrial infrastructure and new residential buildings, with few services and a relational and associative structure to be strengthened. Magnete is created within a former abandoned industrial area, formerly Magneti Marelli, redeveloped between 2016-2020, where the Adriano Community Centre (ACC) was built by Proges, a modern health service centre dedicated to vulnerable groups and the elderly. Inside ACC an Auditorium of old conception has been redesigned to connect with the neighbourhood, its communities, its needs: young people at high risk of becoming neet; distance between generations; renewed need to forge relationships; precariousness and new inequalities. All this has pushed to put at the centre the accessibility to education and care opportunities, to improve the quality of life for all. A series of research, mapping, community building and engagement activities prepared the ground for the launch of a call for partners and ideas. The “Future Days Call” asked to solve three challenges and imagine the future of this centre, starting from culture, training, food. Those challenges demanded to rethink the offer and demand of community services, and to imagine a multifunctional space based on the public needs and the activities carried out by the 28 organisations that responded to the call. The identity of Magnete was thus built around the ideas of care and culture and a principle of multifunctionality of a tailored space, which adapts to the energies and desires of those who frequent it and those who activate it. With Magnete we bring: job assistance (in a coffee bar with continuous job orientation services); training (robotics, theatre workshops, environmental and entrepreneurship education for young people); work inclusion (empowered by two cooperatives; orientation to cultural professions; orientation to the use of digital tools) and edutainment for young and vulnerable people, for neighbourhood families, for the entire population; new services and investments for research, development of new models and products/services, we put culture as a lever and as an engine of territorial development and social innovation. The process of social innovation and governance was governed by Shifton, Studio GISTO designed the set-up to follow the request for multifunctionality of the space, Parco Studio designed the visual identity system of Magnete


The “Future Days Call” for the Adriano Community Centre (ACC) and the whole governance process asked partners to come up with an idea to co-design solutions and activities, a mix of services and expertise.
The first result to be achieved: create cultural content of quality, knowing how to respond to challenges.
Second result: give shape to spaces starting from the needs and allowing the change of function, public, energies and activities.
Third result: open the space and give way to live it from the beginning, shared with communities and local networks.
Fourth result: giving a leg up by ensuring the strategic vision and economic sustainability.
As output: a calendar of workshops and cultural events, that started in the summer and is still going strong; a space that changes identity communication; a mix of audiences and a wide and modular network of partnerships that at different degrees of intensity, make it possible to create and live Magnete in the neighbourhood.


Proges is a national leader in the fields of social services, education and healthcare. Founded 25 years ago, it has constantly pursued innovative forms of management and both public and private partnerships such as projects and mixed companies.

Shifton is an advanced design studio for Social Innovation. We inspire change. From strategy to service. Through design it generates innovative solutions to respond to contemporary challenges and the needs expressed by people and by communities.

Studio GISTO develops design projects with attention to the resources present in the context and to circular development processes. Different skills in the team allow for an integrated and open approach, from architecture to psychology.

Parco is a graphic design studio. It designs communication systems and visual strategies to shape the contents of its clients. Parco has strong focus on socio-cultural issues and its interactions with contemporary visual culture.

Cross-disciplinary practice