Access the Online Archive
Search the Historical Archive of the Pirelli Foundation for sources and materials. Select the type of support you are interested in and write the keywords of your research.
  • Documents
  • Photographs
  • Drawings and posters
  • Audio-visuals
  • Publications and magazines
  • All
Help with your research
To request to view the materials in the Historical Archive and in the libraries of the Pirelli Foundation for study and research purposes and/or to find out how to request the use of materials for loans and exhibitions, please fill in the form below. You will receive an email confirming receipt of the request and you will be contacted.

I declare that I have read and understood the privacy statement concerning the processing of my personal data[DTJI1] ,  and, pursuant to Art. 6 of the GDPR, I authorise the Pirelli Foundation to process my personal data for the purposes described therein. .

Fields marked with * are mandatory
Pirelli Foundation Educational Courses

Select the education level of the school
  • Primary schools

  • Lower secondary school

  • Upper secondary school

  • University

Back
Primary schools
Pirelli Foundation Educational Courses
Please fill in your details and the staff of Pirelli Foundation Educational will contact you to arrange the dates of the course.

I declare that I have read and understood the privacy statement concerning the processing of my personal data[DTJI1] ,  and, pursuant to Art. 6 of the GDPR, I authorise the Pirelli Foundation to process my personal data for the purposes described therein. .

Fields marked with * are mandatory
Back
Lower secondary school
Pirelli Foundation Educational Courses
Please fill in your details and the staff of Pirelli Foundation Educational will contact you to arrange the dates of the course.

I declare that I have read and understood the privacy statement concerning the processing of my personal data[DTJI1] ,  and, pursuant to Art. 6 of the GDPR, I authorise the Pirelli Foundation to process my personal data for the purposes described therein. .

Fields marked with * are mandatory
Back
Upper secondary school
Pirelli Foundation Educational Courses
Please fill in your details and the staff of Pirelli Foundation Educational will contact you to arrange the dates of the course.

I declare that I have read and understood the privacy statement concerning the processing of my personal data[DTJI1] ,  and, pursuant to Art. 6 of the GDPR, I authorise the Pirelli Foundation to process my personal data for the purposes described therein. .

Fields marked with * are mandatory
Back
University
Pirelli Foundation Educational Courses

Do you want to organize a training programme with your students? For information and reservations, write to universita@fondazionepirelli.org

Visit the Foundation
For information on the Foundation's activities and admission to the spaces,
please call +39 0264423971 or write to visite@fondazionepirelli.org

I declare that I have read and understood the privacy statement concerning the processing of my personal data[DTJI1] ,  and, pursuant to Art. 6 of the GDPR, I authorise the Pirelli Foundation to process my personal data for the purposes described therein. .

Fields marked with * are mandatory

Accardo’s violin for Il canto della fabbrica: music that narrates the digital industry

Which music best describes factory work? Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No 2, composed in 1937, used a factory siren to evoke early 20th-century industry, steel, smoke, mass production’s heavy-duty work, while the second half of the century saw compositions by John Cage, Luciano Berio and Luigi Nono featuring metallic noises, clashing sounds, dissonances. And today we have Salvatore Accardo’s violin and the strings of the Orchestra da Camera Italiana, the Italian Chamber Orchestra, performing Il canto della fabbrica (Factory Song), which renders the rhythm of the new millennium’s digital manufacturing processes, driven by computers, robots and Artificial Intelligence files – a whole new way of conceiving the relationship between machinery and the workforce, as well as between industry and environment. Indeed, over time production methods change, high-tech transformations quickly develop and the knowledge economy gains momentum and, analogously, the kind of music able to narrate all this acquires dramatic new forms.

In the 20th century, factories shaped the common way of thinking about manufacturing approaches and mass consumption, with all the conflicts and related mitigating negotiations that came with it. Yet, that way of thinking has resonated through the ages and today we are feeling the impact of the transformation brought about by major scientific and technological innovations on most production policies and outcomes. And the way we’re thinking about the economy is also changing – digital factories epitomise this metamorphosis, as they modernise manufacture and products, materials, roles and occupations, language, regional establishments and adaptability to global markets, a larger mass of consumers but also more special niches.

Are these neo-factories or post-factories ? It doesn’t really matter, it’s all manufacturing, driven by progressively faster and surprising innovations. What kind of music, then, could truly express this animation? On this subject, Gustav Mahler’s words are certainly inspiring: “Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire” – a remarkable quote that, though concise, succeeds in capturing the essence of modernity, as it perpetually flows along a stream running between past and future.

The story of Il Canto della fabbrica, a project by the Pirelli Foundation, started with a meeting: a meeting involving engineers, technicians, high-tech digital industry experts and musicians from a string orchestra. This prompted an inventive debate comprising different languages, skills, visions, an open dialogue where experiences were shared. And thus, during the last month of 2017, the Canto was born, an “exploration” carried out through four musical notes in order to put to music the rhythms and sounds of one of the most innovative production establishment, the Pirelli plant in Settimo Torinese, the so-called “beautiful factory”. It’s a transparent, inclusive, sustainable, bright, safe – and as such more productive and competitive – factory that includes the “Spina” (plug), a hub comprising services and research labs designed by Renzo Piano, an architect particularly attuned to beauty, the environment (the main building is surrounded by 400 cherry trees, a factory in “a cherry orchard”, recalling a literary masterpiece) and to music, of course; indeed, Piano is a good friend and admirer of Accardo.

The “beautiful factory” is really not just about aesthetics, it’s the product of choice, that is, a will to turn production facilities into cultural forces aimed at interpreting the times and underlining contemporary change – an economic decision but also a civic one; a strong statement about a sustainable corporate culture, a culture of doing good, a culture of well-being.

Thus, the music of Il Canto della fabbrica becomes an essential stepping stone within this process, as it embodies a dimension filled with overlaps and contrasts: absolute immateriality – music – with notes inhabiting air and soul, and absolute materiality – the factory – with its machinery, steel, rubber, weight, goods. Nonetheless, this juxtaposition is not entirely appropriate, because a factory is not just about machinery but also about the idea that conceived it, the passion from which it originates and which it inspires, the moods that accompany its pace and the creativity that marks its evolution. Hence, from the material we return to the immaterial, through a process that’s even more apparent in our times of digital factories, bits and data. And the shared language between music and factories lies in yet another sphere of creative and productive thought: mathematics.

The author of the Canto is Francesco Fiore, one of the most prominent Italian musicians, who has composed this piece to be interpreted by Salvatore Accardo and the strings of the Orchestra da Camera Italiana he conducts, with Laura Gorna as first violin. Music born from the factory, then, and performed as a world première right where it was born: in the Industrial Hub in Settimo, on the afternoon of 8 September 2017, during MiTo (the music festival taking place in Milan and Turin), in front of an audience counting about a thousand people (of which many were plant’s employees and their families). The music has now returned to the factory and from there it now travels from world stage to world stage.

The next stop is Trento, for the Festival dell’Economia (Economics Festival), on the evening of 3 June. Not just a fleeting event amongst many others crowding the schedule but something more: the embodiment of a profound process of change leaving its mark on cultures, behaviours, relationships, as well as narration – indeed, a veritable new narrative structure conveying Calvino’s notion of “lightness” through music. Global music for a global factory.

And, even today, what’s the meaning of this encounter?

To begin with, it concerns the various notions about the extraordinary – and ongoing – transformation of factories through Industry 4.0, in a country like Italy, which still ranks as the second manufacturing country in Europe, after Germany. Production facilities change, machines become digital, the field of mechanics is now that of “mechatronics” (i.e. involving much more electronics). Robots, computers, increasingly intricate virtual relationships, big data, the internet of things, data science and data analyses. Blue-collar labourers turning into white-coat experts, tablets to control packaging or turning machines and coordinating all stages of the supply chain up to logistics and markets. Roles entailing increased awareness and quality and constantly developing knowledge. In a nutshell, what we have is the Italian flair for quality manufacture but with a high-tech spirit, although, of course, roles and people’s skills are now different.

Hence, the “beautiful factory” has a new image, a new culture, its own music, even. Innovation, here, captures and develops the rhythm of time, it inspires sounds.

Here it is, then, Il canto della fabbrica, blending observation, listening and discovery as well as dialogue, amid instruments, machines (mixers, calenders, “Next Mirs” robots), violins, cellos and violas; amid industry technicians and musicians, rhythms that inspire and can be reimagined, and silences to represent both a break in production and an “inner space where music can resonate” (in the progressive words of a great Italian musician, Salvatore Sciarrino). Production exposes unique sounds, originally reinterpreted by the Orchestra’s music. Work, culture and musical narration. Creativity born out of crossbreeding.

Innovation and change, indeed. And life – as Accardo likes to say, quoting Nietzsche: “Without music, life would be a mistake.”

Underlining the themes from which inspiration was drawn, the maestro, Fiore, explains, “A factory intended as a place built by humans altering the natural environment to create their own work space, and where shared knowledge and labour must blend into a final product: music. The silent dance of robots, whose movements express a mechanical grace so alien to natural human gestures. The coexistence of the old and the new, human struggle and seemingly unemotional and indefatigable automatons, ancient machinery and state-of-the-art computers. I attempted to pour all this into my piece: as if from a single idea or an original cell (in this particular case, the notes E-C-G-C sharp) one could, through transformation and reinterpretation, create something that remains connected to its generating source yet is able to follow different ramifications, contradictory or conflicting at times, which may arise from a development process.”

Music and community. As Salvatore Accardo recalls, “With Francesco Fiore, we spent almost a year rehearsing, experimenting with sounds and harmonies. And we shared the important experience of ‘doing things by hand’, handling the raw material – in this case musical, instrumental material – moulding it according to the characteristics of the performers, renewing ancient knowledge.”

Indeed, ‘doing things by hand’ is precisely what factory work is: manufacture. And this is fascinating, reiterates Accardo, “a creative convergence between musicians and technicians, musical-minded men and women as well as engineers and labourers. Work and sound. The synthesis of deep emotions.”

Which music best describes factory work? Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No 2, composed in 1937, used a factory siren to evoke early 20th-century industry, steel, smoke, mass production’s heavy-duty work, while the second half of the century saw compositions by John Cage, Luciano Berio and Luigi Nono featuring metallic noises, clashing sounds, dissonances. And today we have Salvatore Accardo’s violin and the strings of the Orchestra da Camera Italiana, the Italian Chamber Orchestra, performing Il canto della fabbrica (Factory Song), which renders the rhythm of the new millennium’s digital manufacturing processes, driven by computers, robots and Artificial Intelligence files – a whole new way of conceiving the relationship between machinery and the workforce, as well as between industry and environment. Indeed, over time production methods change, high-tech transformations quickly develop and the knowledge economy gains momentum and, analogously, the kind of music able to narrate all this acquires dramatic new forms.

In the 20th century, factories shaped the common way of thinking about manufacturing approaches and mass consumption, with all the conflicts and related mitigating negotiations that came with it. Yet, that way of thinking has resonated through the ages and today we are feeling the impact of the transformation brought about by major scientific and technological innovations on most production policies and outcomes. And the way we’re thinking about the economy is also changing – digital factories epitomise this metamorphosis, as they modernise manufacture and products, materials, roles and occupations, language, regional establishments and adaptability to global markets, a larger mass of consumers but also more special niches.

Are these neo-factories or post-factories ? It doesn’t really matter, it’s all manufacturing, driven by progressively faster and surprising innovations. What kind of music, then, could truly express this animation? On this subject, Gustav Mahler’s words are certainly inspiring: “Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire” – a remarkable quote that, though concise, succeeds in capturing the essence of modernity, as it perpetually flows along a stream running between past and future.

The story of Il Canto della fabbrica, a project by the Pirelli Foundation, started with a meeting: a meeting involving engineers, technicians, high-tech digital industry experts and musicians from a string orchestra. This prompted an inventive debate comprising different languages, skills, visions, an open dialogue where experiences were shared. And thus, during the last month of 2017, the Canto was born, an “exploration” carried out through four musical notes in order to put to music the rhythms and sounds of one of the most innovative production establishment, the Pirelli plant in Settimo Torinese, the so-called “beautiful factory”. It’s a transparent, inclusive, sustainable, bright, safe – and as such more productive and competitive – factory that includes the “Spina” (plug), a hub comprising services and research labs designed by Renzo Piano, an architect particularly attuned to beauty, the environment (the main building is surrounded by 400 cherry trees, a factory in “a cherry orchard”, recalling a literary masterpiece) and to music, of course; indeed, Piano is a good friend and admirer of Accardo.

The “beautiful factory” is really not just about aesthetics, it’s the product of choice, that is, a will to turn production facilities into cultural forces aimed at interpreting the times and underlining contemporary change – an economic decision but also a civic one; a strong statement about a sustainable corporate culture, a culture of doing good, a culture of well-being.

Thus, the music of Il Canto della fabbrica becomes an essential stepping stone within this process, as it embodies a dimension filled with overlaps and contrasts: absolute immateriality – music – with notes inhabiting air and soul, and absolute materiality – the factory – with its machinery, steel, rubber, weight, goods. Nonetheless, this juxtaposition is not entirely appropriate, because a factory is not just about machinery but also about the idea that conceived it, the passion from which it originates and which it inspires, the moods that accompany its pace and the creativity that marks its evolution. Hence, from the material we return to the immaterial, through a process that’s even more apparent in our times of digital factories, bits and data. And the shared language between music and factories lies in yet another sphere of creative and productive thought: mathematics.

The author of the Canto is Francesco Fiore, one of the most prominent Italian musicians, who has composed this piece to be interpreted by Salvatore Accardo and the strings of the Orchestra da Camera Italiana he conducts, with Laura Gorna as first violin. Music born from the factory, then, and performed as a world première right where it was born: in the Industrial Hub in Settimo, on the afternoon of 8 September 2017, during MiTo (the music festival taking place in Milan and Turin), in front of an audience counting about a thousand people (of which many were plant’s employees and their families). The music has now returned to the factory and from there it now travels from world stage to world stage.

The next stop is Trento, for the Festival dell’Economia (Economics Festival), on the evening of 3 June. Not just a fleeting event amongst many others crowding the schedule but something more: the embodiment of a profound process of change leaving its mark on cultures, behaviours, relationships, as well as narration – indeed, a veritable new narrative structure conveying Calvino’s notion of “lightness” through music. Global music for a global factory.

And, even today, what’s the meaning of this encounter?

To begin with, it concerns the various notions about the extraordinary – and ongoing – transformation of factories through Industry 4.0, in a country like Italy, which still ranks as the second manufacturing country in Europe, after Germany. Production facilities change, machines become digital, the field of mechanics is now that of “mechatronics” (i.e. involving much more electronics). Robots, computers, increasingly intricate virtual relationships, big data, the internet of things, data science and data analyses. Blue-collar labourers turning into white-coat experts, tablets to control packaging or turning machines and coordinating all stages of the supply chain up to logistics and markets. Roles entailing increased awareness and quality and constantly developing knowledge. In a nutshell, what we have is the Italian flair for quality manufacture but with a high-tech spirit, although, of course, roles and people’s skills are now different.

Hence, the “beautiful factory” has a new image, a new culture, its own music, even. Innovation, here, captures and develops the rhythm of time, it inspires sounds.

Here it is, then, Il canto della fabbrica, blending observation, listening and discovery as well as dialogue, amid instruments, machines (mixers, calenders, “Next Mirs” robots), violins, cellos and violas; amid industry technicians and musicians, rhythms that inspire and can be reimagined, and silences to represent both a break in production and an “inner space where music can resonate” (in the progressive words of a great Italian musician, Salvatore Sciarrino). Production exposes unique sounds, originally reinterpreted by the Orchestra’s music. Work, culture and musical narration. Creativity born out of crossbreeding.

Innovation and change, indeed. And life – as Accardo likes to say, quoting Nietzsche: “Without music, life would be a mistake.”

Underlining the themes from which inspiration was drawn, the maestro, Fiore, explains, “A factory intended as a place built by humans altering the natural environment to create their own work space, and where shared knowledge and labour must blend into a final product: music. The silent dance of robots, whose movements express a mechanical grace so alien to natural human gestures. The coexistence of the old and the new, human struggle and seemingly unemotional and indefatigable automatons, ancient machinery and state-of-the-art computers. I attempted to pour all this into my piece: as if from a single idea or an original cell (in this particular case, the notes E-C-G-C sharp) one could, through transformation and reinterpretation, create something that remains connected to its generating source yet is able to follow different ramifications, contradictory or conflicting at times, which may arise from a development process.”

Music and community. As Salvatore Accardo recalls, “With Francesco Fiore, we spent almost a year rehearsing, experimenting with sounds and harmonies. And we shared the important experience of ‘doing things by hand’, handling the raw material – in this case musical, instrumental material – moulding it according to the characteristics of the performers, renewing ancient knowledge.”

Indeed, ‘doing things by hand’ is precisely what factory work is: manufacture. And this is fascinating, reiterates Accardo, “a creative convergence between musicians and technicians, musical-minded men and women as well as engineers and labourers. Work and sound. The synthesis of deep emotions.”