Narating work: from Settimo Torinese to Bicocca

  • The photography exhibit “Workers” was thus opened at Settimo Torinese in September 2010
  • Fondazione Pirelli won the Culture Business Partnership Award 2010 for this concert,an award for businesses investing in cultural events thus becoming an integral part of the project itself
  • Bicocca area: Fondazione Pirelli was the first venue for the project “I luoghi del lavoro, tra memoria e futuro” (“Workplaces, in History and in Future”) sponsored by Assolombarda

 

The Fondazione Pirelli promotes corporate culture, convinced that widespread and exact knowledge of the business world is the best tool for generating awareness of the value of a business, for shared economic and civil progress. Business lives in society and is an integral part of society: the common denominator is encapsulated in the word “work.”

“Narrating work” is one of the cornerstones of Foundation activity. This has been true since the beginning, when – in the summer of 2009 – the photography exhibit “Working. Uomini, macchine, idee” (“Working. Men, machines, ideas”) was organised at the Milan Triennale, as the ideal iconographic continuation of the book Racconti di Lavoro (“Work Narratives”).
This narration of workplaces continued in 2010, to the point where it concentrated on what is now a genuine symbol of the industrial vitality of the Group, the new Settimo Torinese Industrial Centre. The photography exhibit “Workers” was thus opened at the Giardinera space at Settimo Torinese in September 2010: seventy photographs taken by Carlo Furgeri Gilbert, which narrate the industrial adventure of Pirelli at these historic plants just outside Turin, which are now going to be transformed into one of the most advanced tyre manufacturing plants in the world. This is a narrative of both the past and the future, to be built with the faces of those men and women who have dedicated and dedicate their intelligence, energy and skills to the factory every day.

Also in September, music returned to the factory during the Workers photography exhibit. More than four hundred persons attended the concert given by I Fiati di Torino, sponsored by the Foundation as part of the MiTo festival. For an evening, the audience brought the Via Torino plant back to life: after 56 years of productive history, it was being decommissioned for replacement by a new, technologically advanced plant under construction five kilometres away. The Fondazione Pirelli won the Culture Business Partnership Award 2010 for this concert, an award for businesses investing in cultural events thus becoming an integral part of the project itself.

Transformation of the industrial complex in Turin also involved the Foundation – together with the Centro per la Cultura d’Impresa – in a vast project to collect oral source material from employees at the factories located in Settimo Torinese. This research aims to go beyond the production of material “for future memory,” by digging deep into the relationships between work and technology, values, motivations, aspirations and behaviour of the new blue collar class, the symbolic and practical models of reference, work ethics and forms of identification with the firm. The project will conclude in 2011 with publication of the results of the research, in the hope of making valid contributions to the more general debate on business and work.

If Settimo Torinese is the paradigm for the capacity of a company to “give itself a future” in industry, the Bicocca area in Milan is part of a bigger industrial narrative intertwined with the very soul of the Group. In November 2010, the Fondazione Pirelli was the first venue for the project “I luoghi del lavoro, tra memoria e futuro” (“Workplaces, in History and in Future”). Sponsored by Assolombarda, it presented a series of cultural events to introduce citizens to several major businesses located in the Milan area. The first scheduled event brought over 150 people to the Foundation, who wanted to discover the firm through its history, values and the creativity that it has expressed over the years.