Pirelli Opens Historic Archives to the Public
Last year the Pirelli Group, in order to establish a lasting record of the company’s activities and the role it has played in Italy’s social and entrepreneurial history, established the Pirelli Foundation. On April 14, 2010 the company presented the Foundation and opened its Historic Archives, which it describes as being the Foundation’s “heart”, to the city of Milan. The presentation ceremony took place in the presence of Pirelli chairman Marco Tronchetti Provera; deputy chairman Alberto Pirelli; honorary chairwoman of the Foundation Cecilia Pirelli; and Foundation director Antonio Calabrò. All the materials kept in the archives, which since 1972 have been under Archival Superintendency protection due to their historic importance, are now available to students, researchers and members of the public.
The Historic Archives contain documents, manuscripts, videos, photos, works of art and other items that recount Pirelli’s 138 years of industrial and cultural history, from its founding in 1872 to today. Among the materials are illustrations by famous Italian poster designer Marcello Dudovich from the early 1900s and the entire collection of Pirelli magazines from 1948 to 1972 with articles signed by numerous leading Italian literary figures including Eugenio Montale, Alberto Moravia, Umberto Saba, Carlo Emilio Gadda, and Umberto Eco. The Foundation also recently acquired the personal documents of Alberto Pirelli, son of company founder Giovanni Battista Pirelli, and those of his son Leopoldo Pirelli.
Some of the archive’s more important pieces were presented at the inauguration ceremony, including works of art, documents, images and Pirelli tyre advertising campaigns dating back to the early years of the 20th century. In total, the Foundation and Historic Archives occupy more than two and a half kilometres of shelving within a recently restored and modernised building at the Pirelli headquarters in Bicocca, Milan. An interactive working area with multi-touch screens provides access to documents, photographs and drawings kept by the Foundation. The archives are open to the public and to researchers from Monday through Friday on appointment, from 9 am to 5:30 pm. The Pirelli Foundation website www.fondazionepirelli.org, currently only available in Italian, provides additional information about materials within the archives.