In this story of supporting and promoting culture, the theatre has always played a central role. Pirelli is in fact a founding and permanent member of the Theatre Foundation of La Scala, as well as working together with the Piccolo Theatre: a commitment dating back to 1947 when Pirelli became a supporting member of the first permanent theatre in Milan, well known both in Italy and abroad. The company was planting its roots in the cultural fabric of Milan, an approach which can also be seen in its partnership with the Franco Parenti Theatre – started in 1996 when Pirelli decided to take part in the establishment of the Pier Lombardo Foundation – created to develop one of the most active theatres in the country. Furthermore, with the redevelopment plans of the Bicocca zone by Pirelli in the nineties came the Arcimboldi Theatre, just as today the Group is wholly responsible for maintaining and managing Pirelli HangarBicocca, an institution dedicated to contemporary art, in this way contributing to the reinforcement of its identity within a cultural district which has deep roots in the life of Milan, and open to the most stimulating international opportunities.
Pirelli’s strong impulse towards cultural initiatives also led to the creation of the Pirelli Foundation in 2009, began with the knowledge that safeguarding the cultural, historical and contemporary heritage of the group is an important value not only for the company, but also for society and the area in which it operates. And it is thanks to the work of the Pirelli Foundation that the company has been able to forge closer ties between work and culture. The centrality of the factory as a place where the culture of the company can be developed is something which has always been a distinctive trait of the Group, and has in this sense been confirmed by a vast project involving the collection of oral testimonies from factory employees in Settimo Torinese. The Pirelli Foundation and the director Serena Sinigaglia drew inspiration from the final document, which ran to thousands of pages, to write the theatre play “Settimo: work and the factory”, debuted at the Piccolo Theatre of Milan in February 2012, followed by the publications in volumes of the results of the research.
The factory in Settimo Torinese had already been used as a stage in 2008, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the city proclamation – when Pirelli opened the gates of the old plant to its employees, hosting the actors Moni Ovadia and Marco Paolini.
The overall approach of Pirelli to the Italian cultural landscape includes not only the theatre, but music too: from supporting the Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra to sponsorship of the MITO SettembreMusica Festival - this year promoted and organised by the Foundation for Turin Culture and the Foundation for Musical Afternoons of Milan. It is a tradition which began many years ago with the historical support of the Muti maestros at the Ravenna Festival, and more recently of the Maestro Salvatore Accardo Orchestra. And there are further collaborations of note made by Pirelli over the years with prestigious artistic and cultural institutions, such as the by now historical partnership with the Brera Pinacoteca, where Pirelli has not only financed a cycle of restorations but also supported the development of an innovative restoration technique – designed by Ettore Sottsass – capable of allowing the restoration of works art to take place while they still remain accessible by the public. Pirelli has also been a member for years of the FAI, the Fund for the Italian Environment, working together on diverse initiatives related to education of the defence of the environment and the artistic heritage of Italy, just as we can also recall the support of the ISEC Foundation – Institute of Contemporary History, the Italian Cinema Foundation, and today the collaboration with the Triennale of Milan for the XXI International Expo of the Triennale of Milan, titled 21st Century. Design after Design.