Last week I interviewed London nightlife maestro Luca Maggiora in the lavish Four Seasons Hotel in Park Lane. I heard that this suavely tall, tattooed Italian was one of the leading hospitality industry leaders in our party and food-loving capital, and so was interested to hear his story.
Luca has over 10 years experience working for the biggest West End nightclubs and explained how he created his own successful brands. These have now gone global, attracting high net-worth individuals, famous folk and a plethora of pleasure-seekers from all over the world.
His portfolio certainly sounded impressive, and I was intrigued. Just how did this all begin? How did this Italian-born, confident, yet laid-back man end up becoming one of London’s most respected entrepreneurs in the nightlife and restaurant industry?
“I did two masters degrees, one in sociology and one in business,” he revealed. “I came to London when I was 26 years old and had never been in a club in my life until I was 28. My life in Italy was very laid back, we would drink beer in parks. I moved to London to work in a bank and a good friend of mine from Italy asked me to help open and promote Maddox Club.”
Luca Maggiora moved to London in 2006 to focus on his career as a credit analyst for Banca Intesa Sanpaolo in the city. Bored of banking and hungry for a new challenge, he opened his first club, LUXX in January 2009.
“Before Lehman Brothers collapsed there was a lot of bankers spending money in clubs,” he explained, “I went to a club and thought wow, I like this environment and soon after I opened my first club.”
Luca was clearly aware of the spending power of his colleagues in the finance industry and cleverly decided to capitalise on this growing need for luxury nightclubs.
LUXX evolved into an epic success, with the likes of Swedish House Mafia, Deadmau5 and Afrojack hyping up the well-heeled crowd with outstanding secret performances. Understanding the temporary nature of clubs in the capital, Luca took his black book of celebs and banking contacts with him and opened Project in 2011 – one of the most lucrative London clubs ever opened, with single weeks making as much as £250,000 in profit.
Utilising the skills and experience honed from such successful ventures, the proudly tee-total Luca Maggiora then opened Scandal, Charlie, and the eclectic club Toy Room along with business partners Jordan Rocca, Gennaro Salerno, and Corrado Mozzillo. This sultry West End club became an instant hit with glamorous London revellers and was adored for its crowd-pleasing DJ sets, flashy interiors and of course, the brand’s trademark oversized teddy bear, Frank, who would often join party-goers on the dance floor.
Now a respected international brand, Toy Room boasts venues in 7 locations across the world, including Brazil, Mykonos, Athens, Dubai and Sao Paulo. A brand new venue is also due to open in the bustling Indian city of Delhi next month.
Luca continued to explain how his popular London clubs only play mainstream hip hop, as “this is what’s trending right now.” Toy Room in particular has showcased some of the world’s leading hip hop performers such as Travis Scott, Tyga, G-Eazy, Pia Mia, and Waka Flow.
The combination of the right kind of music, chic clientele and stylish interiors in Luca’s clubs has attracted numerous celebrities over the years, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Drake, Bradley Cooper, Rihanna, Harry Styles, Nicole Scherzinger, Jessie J and Usain Bolt.
Being quite the foodie, I was impressed to hear that Luca’s established reputation as a successful nightlife operator led to an opportunity to create a new Italian restaurant known as La Mia Mamma. Along with respected restauranteurs Peppe and Rosario Corsaro, this elegant yet unpretentious eatery can be found packed with fashionable diners in Chelsea’s Kings Road.
After such an intriguing interview involving talk of glamorous parties, hip hop shenanigans and more, I was delighted to accept an invitation to Luca’s 38th birthday at Scandal last Monday.
He told me that having a party on a Monday straight after Halloween weekend and before Halloween itself would be risky, but he was quietly confident the night would be full of shiny, happy party people. After attending with my gorgeous 7 Star Life crew in tow, it appeared as if the whole of London came out to play.
After a special performance by Tinie Tempah, copious bottles of Champagne adorned with sparklers and sexy dancers wearing skimpy T shirts emblazoned with the words “Luca 38,” I have to admit, it truly was a birthday party to remember.
For the man who has achieved so much at such a young age, I’d say it was a well-deserved celebration. Luca Maggiora has certainly come a long way since the relaxed days of drinking beers in the sun-drenched parks of his Italian homeland.