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Light in the Factory: The Pirelli Industrial Centre in Settimo Torinese

Originally built in the late 1950s to supply the nearby Fiat factory with tyres and accessories, the Settimo Torinese plant has been one of the Pirelli’s Group’s most technologically and environmentally advanced production centres since 2011. Covering an area of 250,000 square metres, with a production capacity of 3.5 million tyres a year, Settimo Torinese is a perfect example of the Industry 4.0 factory, with its digital production processes and its Next MIRS system – a fully robotic production line that is extremely flexible and capable of producing high-tech tyres suited to the individual needs of each manufacturer. The complex is a centre of excellence also in terms of sustainability, respect for the environment and care for the workers. At the Centre, light entered a tyre factory for the first time, even in places that ought to remain dark, such as the compounds hall. The building has a special roof that filters natural light, making it possible to illuminate the rooms while blocking the sun’s rays.

Light also fills the Spina, the central body designed by the architect Renzo Piano between the two sectors of the factory. This Spina is a 400-metre-long rectilinear building “consisting of twelve buildings in structural metalwork raised from the ground – like the beads of a necklace strung on a long elevated glazed walkway running through them” – as the Renzo Piano Foundation website puts it – and connected to the factory at either end by covered walkways. La Spina, which houses the offices and the senior management facilities, the library, the canteen, and the changing rooms, is in line with the most advanced sustainability criteria and it places the emphasis on people: from the natural lighting system to the thermal insulation, the communal spaces and meeting places, and the particular care taken to blend it into its surroundings. The roof of the Spina is complex and technologically advanced, for it regulates the solar radiation and contains photovoltaic and solar heat panels and has water-permeable sunscreen fixtures on the sides, in the areas above the trees. An avenue with about 450 cherry trees runs along the Spina and there are also large green spaces near the car parks, and various types of poplars have been planted on the south, east and west sides of the complex.

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Originally built in the late 1950s to supply the nearby Fiat factory with tyres and accessories, the Settimo Torinese plant has been one of the Pirelli’s Group’s most technologically and environmentally advanced production centres since 2011. Covering an area of 250,000 square metres, with a production capacity of 3.5 million tyres a year, Settimo Torinese is a perfect example of the Industry 4.0 factory, with its digital production processes and its Next MIRS system – a fully robotic production line that is extremely flexible and capable of producing high-tech tyres suited to the individual needs of each manufacturer. The complex is a centre of excellence also in terms of sustainability, respect for the environment and care for the workers. At the Centre, light entered a tyre factory for the first time, even in places that ought to remain dark, such as the compounds hall. The building has a special roof that filters natural light, making it possible to illuminate the rooms while blocking the sun’s rays.

Light also fills the Spina, the central body designed by the architect Renzo Piano between the two sectors of the factory. This Spina is a 400-metre-long rectilinear building “consisting of twelve buildings in structural metalwork raised from the ground – like the beads of a necklace strung on a long elevated glazed walkway running through them” – as the Renzo Piano Foundation website puts it – and connected to the factory at either end by covered walkways. La Spina, which houses the offices and the senior management facilities, the library, the canteen, and the changing rooms, is in line with the most advanced sustainability criteria and it places the emphasis on people: from the natural lighting system to the thermal insulation, the communal spaces and meeting places, and the particular care taken to blend it into its surroundings. The roof of the Spina is complex and technologically advanced, for it regulates the solar radiation and contains photovoltaic and solar heat panels and has water-permeable sunscreen fixtures on the sides, in the areas above the trees. An avenue with about 450 cherry trees runs along the Spina and there are also large green spaces near the car parks, and various types of poplars have been planted on the south, east and west sides of the complex.

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