Focus: Business culture

The Fondazione Pirelli, driver of business culture

The Fondazione Pirelli (Pirelli Foundation) was established in 2009 to provide continuing, holistic and authoritative support for the business culture espoused by the Group. Its guiding principle is to promote the creativity of new generations of artists and researchers, offer a platform for the thought that links tangible industrial experience with the historic memory of the Company, while promoting the value of current experience as it gradually becomes history.

In 2011 visits to the Foundation increased significantly to attend the usual round of conferences, seminars and training courses: over 5000 persons (40% more than in 2010) representing schools, institutions, associations, entities, corporate museums, foundations and customers. The number of users at the historic archive (researchers and students) also increased significantly from 2010, by about 10%.

An emblematic example of the steady consolidation of the Pirelli Foundation in the socio-cultural fabric of the Bicocca site has been the success (about 500 participants) at the event “Special Opening” held on November 26, 2011, when the Foundation promoted an open day for public visits to the site, to the Bicocca degli Arcimboldi and the Hangar Bicocca. These sites comprised a three-stage visit to the heart of Pirelli culture, between traditional sites and contemporary life. The same strong signal of consolidation can be found in the continuous increase since 2011 of access to the site, which has undergone incessant restyling and fine-tuning of its functions, culminating with its complete overhaul in November.

Of all the activities that report to the Pire - lli Foundation, management and improvement of the Historic Archive have always been a top priority.

Among current activities, restoration work continued in 2011 on the total of 240 original advertising sketches that represent one of the most valuable assets of the Archive. Work also continued on organising and digitalising the photographic archive, involving over 3,500 images of fashion and car racing subjects. Two hundred fifty feature length films were restored in the audio-visual section in collaboration with the Fondazione Cineteca Italiana in Milan.

This last activity enabled the Pirelli Foundation to make the DVD “Pirelli in 35mm”: a selection of films that tell the history of corporate communication from 1912 to the end of the 1970’s, from historic documentaries to advertising films and advertising hour clips (“Caroselli”). “Pirelli in 35mm” was presented on November 27, 2011 at the Spazio Oberdan in Milan, as part of the Business Culture Week.

Another event in the field of industrial cinema and initiatives organised during the Business Culture Week was participation by the Pirelli Foundation in the 11th Industrial Cinema Day. On that occasion, a conference was held in collaboration with the Industrial Cinema Archive, entitled “I volti della Pirelli: comunicazione e identità nella storia di una grande impresa” (“The Faces of Pirelli: Communication and Identity in the History of a Great Company”). About 100 students participated.

Among the other activities organised by the Historic Archive in 2011 was the completed digitalisation of the entire collection of the magazine Rivista Pirelli, which is now entirely available online at the Foundation site. This accomplishment was accompanied by continued computer cataloguing of the archive Storia delle Industrie Pirelli (“History of Pirelli Industries”) on the standardised GEA system together with the restored sketches and about 400 technical drawings produced by the Tyre Sector between the 1950’s and 1970’s.

In April, a partnership agreement was signed between the Fondazione ISEC in Sesto San Giovanni and Pirelli for promotion of a series of initiatives aimed at distributing the business culture of the national socioeconomic system. On this basis, the Pirelli Foundation transferred of the technical and scientific library to its own Historic Archive. In view of exploiting this heritage, the Fondazione ISEC will participate on cataloguing the over 20,000 volumes (published between the end of the 19th century and now) held by the library.

Tyres have a soul

Fashion and car races were the stars in 2011. These two themes were the ideal guideposts for the initiatives organised by the Pirelli Foundation over the entire year.

Between June 20 and July 24, the Milan Triennale hosted the exhibition L’anima di gomma. Estetica e tecnica al passo con la moda (“The Tyre’s Soul: Aesthetics and Technique in Step with Fashion”). Organized by the Pirelli Foundation and visited by over 15,000 persons in one month, “Tyre’s soul” aimed to recount – through the display of original sketches and multimedia installations – the history and advertising communication Pirelli brand fashion, from the Company’s foundation at the end of the 19th century to the present day, arranged around the theme of research applied to materials and processes. The lead player here is rubber, so versatile as to be a tyre or elastic thread, fabric or a commonly used object.

The success realised by the Milan exhibition meant that “Tyre’s soul” was approached as a “case history” at the meeting held in Venice in November on design and fashion company archives.

In 2011, the return of Pirelli to Formula 1 necessarily focused the spotlight on the world of tyres and car racing.

The About a tyre photography exhibition opened at the Foundation Pirelli in April. An installation comprised of 22 visual works was realised by 15 students enrolled in the photography course of NABA-Nuova Accademia delle Belle Arti in Milan, where Pirelli asked to interpret the corporate values of its core business, from safety to speed and eco-sustainability. This installation attracted about 2,000 visitors.

Concurrently with the initiatives organised for the Monza Formula 1 Grand Prix, the exhibition “Si va che è un incanto...Pirelli, storie di gare, piloti, sfide e successi” (“It Drives Like a Dream…Pirelli, Stories of Races, Drivers and Successes”) was opened in September.

Seven sections – arranged along the virtual route of the Monza race track traced out in the Open Space of the Foundation – covered the history of Pirelli participation in car races. The exhibition featured the most beautiful and significant images and documents to recount over a hundred years of races held under the “P lunga” Pirelli logo.

The exhibition was opened together with the event The invisible heart of a tyre that accompanied presentation of the new PZero Silver tyre, which was created specifically on the basis of Pirelli experience with Formula 1. On the special stage set up in the Bicocca Hangar, the invisible hear of the tyre was recounted by economists, actors, race car drivers and technicians, revealing to the public an industrial reality that is as fascinating as it is complex.

Tyres took centre stage yet again at the end of the year, as part of the Business Culture Week. In Milan on November 24, a meeting was held at Assolombarda with the title Gli oggetti che hanno fatto la storia (“The Objects that Have Made History”). The Pirelli Foundation participated with two tyres – the one that one the Peking-Paris Rally in 1907 and a modern PZero slick used in Formula 1 racing – to lead the young people attending the event through a course to comprehend the past and interpret contemporary economy and society.

Promotion of a work culture

Apparel and tyres are the final, tangible result of a long, complex process that can be easily summed up in just one word: work. It can also be summed up by its place: the factory.

In September 2011 nearly seven hundred persons attended the orchestral concert I pomeriggi musicali (“Musical Afternoons”) promoted and sponsored by the foundation as part of the event MiTo Settembremusica. This performance was staged against the backdrop of the profound transformations in relations and languages that have roots in the 20th century and prefigure our contemporary world.

The central role of the factor as the place where business culture is made was once again confirmed by completion of a vast project – begun back in 2010 – to collect testimonial documentation from employees at the Settimo Torinese factories. The Pirelli Foundation and the director Serena Sinigaglia drew inspiration from the several thousand pages comprising the final document to create the stage piece Settimo. La fabbrica e il lavoro (“The Factory and Work”) was staged at the Piccolo Teatro of Milan in February 2012. It will be followed by publication of a volume by Laterza of the research results.

The industrial modernity of Settimo Torinese is the immediate icon of the company’s capacity to create industrial culture. However, it is in turn part of a broader narrative of work: a narrative that from the new industrial centre in Turin dates back to the Milano Bicocca complex, where Pirelli has its industrial roots.

Cultura dove sei? (“Culture, Where Are You?”) is the title of the conference that the Pirelli Foundation held in May 2011 in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Cinisello Balsamo, with the aim of analysing the types of places where culture is disseminated and enjoyed, particularly in view of development of the Bicocca area as a cultural district. Over one hundred professional photographers and others in the photography business participated.

Development of the Bicocca cultural district explains the participation by the Pirelli Foundation as lead manager of the Cariplo Call for Entries, Valorizzare le attività culturali come fattore di sviluppo delle aree urbane (“Promoting Cultural Activities as a Factor for Development in Urban Areas”) by jointly presenting with the University of Milan Bicocca a project for territorial development entitled Doppia c/Cultura e crescita. Progetti e strategie di sviluppo culturale e artistico per il miglioramento della qualità della vita di abitanti e city users dell’area metropolitana Milano /NNE (“Double c/Culture and Growth. Projects and cultural and artistic development strategies for improving the quality of life of inhabitants and city users in the metropolitan area of Milan /NNE”).

The commitment to education at all levels must also be construed as part of the “work culture” pursued by the Pirelli Foundation.

Since 2010 the Foundation has had a seat on the Board of Trustees of the Scuola dell’Infanzia G.B.Pirelli nursery school in Varenna, Province of Lecco. It is also active in supporting the activities of the Istituto di Istruzione Superiore “Leopoldo Pirelli” high school in Rome. Collaboration with this latter school led in 2011 to establishment of the first Premio Leopoldo Pirelli prize. This consists of a euro 5,000 scholarship earmarked for students have particularly distinguished themselves for merit over the year.

Since 2009 the Pirelli Foundation has been a partner, together with the Fondazione Agnelli and the Fondazione Edoardo Garrone, of the Associazione per la Formazione d’Eccellenza (Association for Training in Excellence). This is a non-profit association whose purpose is to promote and encourage excellence in education and training to meet the demands and prospects of the working world, research and business. The experience of this association has led to foundation of the Scuola di alta formazione al Management (Management Specialisation School) in collaboration with the Collège des Ingénieurs.

Support for art

The Pirelli Foundation operates in the tradition carried forward by the Pirelli Group for one hundred forty years, by sponsoring initiatives in favour of the external community, aware that it plays a key role in the promotion of business culture and civil progress in all communities where it operates. For this reason, the Group realises and supports initiatives for the diffusion of education and culture, promotion of the arts, solidarity, protection of human rights and improvement of the living conditions of local populations.
A series of activities are carried out in collaboration with public institutions and local private partners that are chosen according to criteria designed to guarantee a high standard of quality, and which are promoted amongst Pirelli employees over the intranet.

So, support for art and culture are part of the Group’s own tradition. So, it was in this sense that the institutional partnership between the Pirelli Group and the Triennale di Milano continued in 2011. This involves cooperation between two historic institutions in Milan: the Triennale on the one hand – Milanese by birth and one of the world’s greatest institutions in the field of visual arts and architecture – and the Pirelli Group on the other, one of the business enterprises that have contributed the most to development of graphics not only in Italy but in the world.

The support that Pirelli gives to a cultural project must always satisfy the base requirements of being authoritative and prestigious, as well as being consistent with the core business of the Group. In other words, it must satisfy the vocation for innovation, research, development of new technologies and investment in young people. This is the case of the historic partnership with the Pinacoteca di Brera art museum, where Pirelli has not limited itself to financing a series of restorations but has also supported the development of an innovative restoration technology – designed by Ettore Sottsass – capable of making it possible to execute publicly the long process of restoring a work.

On March 15, 2011 Pirelli purchased from Prelios the Bicocca Hangar and art works installed there, “The Seven Celestial Palaces” by Anselm Kiefer and “La sequenza” by Fausto Melotti, thereby becoming sponsoring founding member of the Fondazione HangarBicocca, of which Marco Tronchetti Provera was named Chairman. Together with the other members of the Foundation, the Region of Lombardy and the Milan Chamber of Commerce, Pirelli aims to relaunch HangarBicocca as a focal point for international contemporary art and position it as a cultural centre rooted in the territory of Greater Milan, in keeping with the Pirelli tradition of operating as a multinational company with deep roots in Milan. HangarBicocca consequently stands as an example of public-private collaboration, for stimulation of artistic creativity and enriching national cultural heritage with innovative choices.

The fifteen thousand square metres at HangarBicocca, open to visitors beginning April 2012, feature renovated spaces, a new image, more functional area for exhibition and cultural activities: from the new space dedicated to children to the interactive multimedia wall, and the multipurpose area for workshops and conferences. But that is not all: the changes also involve extended evening opening hours, free admission, continuing education activities, personnel prepared to explain the themes presented at the exhibition, visual, informative and popularising material created with a new graphic format.

Support for art and support for the environment. For years Pirelli has been associated with the FAI-Fondo Ambiente Italiano, with which it collaborates on various initiatives aimed at education and protecting the environment and Italian artistic heritage. In this ambit, between April and May 2011 Pirelli sponsored the exhibition La mano del grafico for FAI, an exhibition of over 360 autograph drawings and sketches by 107 of the most authoritative Italian and international graphic artists donated to the Fondo Ambiente Italiano. At the end of the exhibition, the FAI organised a charity benefit auction of the displayed sketches, and then donated the proceeds to restoration of Villa Necchi Campiglio and the Biblioteca del Castello di Masino library.

The Pirelli approach to culture is also realised in its collaboration in the world of stage theatre. In 2011 Pirelli renewed its historic ties with the Teatro Franco Parenti, a theatre founded in 1996, when the Group decided to participate in the creation of the Fondazione Pier Lombardo. This foundation was established to support the growth of one of the most active, firmly rooted theatres in Italy.

The previously mentioned production in February 2012 of the theatre piece “Settimo.

La fabbrica e il lavoro” has reaffirmed the participation of Pirelli, as supporting partner, at the Piccolo Teatro di Milano, in view of focusing the Group on cultural topics with local roots. The partnership between Pirelli and the Piccolo Teatro dates back to 1947, when Pirelli became a supporting member of the first permanent public theatre in Milan.
Now the Piccolo Teatro operates worldwide.

In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy, an event was held between March and April 2011 entitled “Lezioni di storia. L’Italia prima dell’Italia” (“History Lessons. Italy before Italy”), a series of nine free lessons dedicated to the most important events that led over time to the birth of Italy. After “Milano 900” in 2010, Pirelli decided to be one of the sponsors of this event in 2011, created by the publisher Laterza, and intends to renew its commitment again in 2012.

Art and culture is also supported in Brazil, and particularly the Museu de Arte Moderna (MAM) in São Paulo. A very important photographic exhibition is scheduled for 2012: exhibition of the Pirelli MASP Collection, one of the most important photography collections in Brazil, at the Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo (MASP). Pirelli also supported the Italian cinema week in Brazil, the Mozarteum orchestra, and the staging of a play by Pirandello.

In Turkey, Pirelli sponsors the Istanbul Culture & Art Foundation for cultural and artistic activities. In Germany Pirelli supports a music festival for young people. And in Romania Pirelli sponsors the Slatina theatre and the Romania-Italia Cultural Institute.

As part of the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy, Pirelli decided to support recovery of the statute donated by Italy to Mexico City in 1968. That was the year the Olympic Games were held in Mexico, on occasion of which Italy donated the Consantino Nivola work “Hombre de Paz,” as part of the “La Ruta de la Amistad,” i.e. “The Path of Friendship,” a complex artistic and cultural project that marked the constant link between two countries that was bound to last and grow through the contribution made by the many Italian companies that operate in Mexico. This initiative, which falls in the scope of a broader plan for urban renewal of the city, supported by Italy, received support from Pirelli for the placement of a statue in a big garden traversed by a 25-metre long gangway that allows visitors to view Costantino Nivola’s work and at the same time enjoy the protected species that blossom in spring, and the complex of volcanic rocks from 2,000 years ago, without sullying the environment.

Art triumphed on Friday, September 16 in Bucharest, courtesy of Pirelli Romania, which restored Susanna e i vecchioni, a masterpiece of Seicento Italian painting by Alessandro Varotari, “Il Padovanino.”

Pirelli supported the restoration of this important art work, which was meticulously and patiently carried out by specialists at the Bucharest Art Museum, who completed this complex project in the record time of almost three months.

The President of the Republic of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, on a two-day state visit to Romania, attended this event at the Bucharest National Art Museum.