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Christmases of Years Past
A “winter’s tale” at the Pirelli Foundation

In December 2014, the Pirelli Foundation dressed in white to tell a “winter’s tale” of art, research, and technology. In the exhibition we looked back at the evolution of Winter tyres, as interpreted by great painters, designers, and photographers in the company’s most famous advertising campaigns. The first Pirelli winter tyre, the Artiglio, appeared in the April 1932 price list as an alternative to the Normale tread pattern for cord tyres. It was a tread “for snow, frost, and wet roads”, that produced a “cog-wheel effect” in the harshest road conditions. In 1951 the new Inverno tread pattern was studied and marketed, and in 1957 came the Nuovo Inverno version. The Dutchman Bob Noorda designed the advertisements, taking inspiration from the tracks left by his skis on the snow, from the geometrical shapes of snow crystals, and even from the stylised profile of a fir tree.  And Riccardo Manzi, Alessandro Mendini, Ilio Negri and Giulio Confalonieri were also called in by Pirelli to create advertisements for the company’s entire range of winter tyres. For the launch of the BS, the first detachable tyre tread, Ermanno Scopinich immortalised a group of ice skaters at the ice stadium in Cortina d’Ampezzo in a photo shoot and a TV commercial. The concept of the detachable tread achieved success in rallying in the late 1960s, and it was these races that gave the idea for a new technological leap forward in the field of winter tyres. This came in the form of the Cinturato MS35 Rally, the street version of which became what is now the extended Pirelli Winter range. A host of technological knowledge, complex graphics, calculations, charts and technical drawings, together with international advertising campaigns, went on display in the coldest season of the year.

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