The Value of an Anthology for Multidisciplinary Culture

Industrial Humanism: An Anthology of Thoughts, Words, Images, and Innovations is a publishing project by the Pirelli Foundation that documents the extraordinary experiment that was Pirelli. Rivista d’informazione e di tecnica, a magazine published from 1948 to 1972. Our Historical Archive contains a complete collection, with 131 original copies of the magazine, as well as a photographic collection of 6000 images in the form of negatives, slides, colour positive films, and colour and black-and-white prints. The original articles were illustrated by 3500 photos, leaving almost 2500 unpublished. Some of these have been selected for the anthology, while others will appear on this site. The articles have been arranged by subject in the book, which starts with a section entitled “Pirelli: Let’s Talk about Us”. This contains the first editorial by the then chairman, Alberto Pirelli, followed by a series of articles on the company and its products.

A “Tales of Travel section is devoted to national and cross-border tourism, often in the form of photo reports, or with artists’ illustrations, while the world of sport is dealt with in the “news” section on motor racing and football, cycling and sailing. And then there is mass mobility, which is talked about in “Society on the Move”, and the evolution of habits and consumption, which are investigated in reports on television, education, and the relationship between work and leisure. Over the years, the Rivista witnessed the changes sweeping through Italian and international politics and the economy, scientific and technological progress, and care for the environment and landscape. A truly multidisciplinary magazine, it could not fail to look at architecture and design, and art and literature, listening to the voices of those who guided and interpreted these worlds.

The anthology also shows us how editorial policies changed with each editor-in-chief, from Arturo Tofanelli, who created and then directed the Rivista until 1957 with Giuseppe Luraghi and Leonardo Sinisgalli, to Arrigo Castellani, and through to Gianfranco Isalberti in the final period of its history. The book also offers the reader a sweeping overview of the changes in graphic styles, with reproductions of the original layouts. Compared with other company house organs of the time, the Rivista Pirelli was a case apart right from the first issues. This was especially apparent in its interest not only in poetry and literature but also in the figurative arts, and it soon became a benchmark for later company publications.  


The articles from the Rivista Pirelli selected for the book Industrial Humanism, some of which are published on this website, are reproduced in their original form, so as to lose none of the colour of the language and the way it changed over the years. Since this is an anthropological collection, some articles have been excerpted, and this is clearly indicated. It has been decided not to intervene in cases where there are editorial differences between one article and another, but only in individual texts, with just a few graphic tweaks to facilitate reading. All the titles have been standardised so as to clearly indicate not only the names of the authors, but also those of the great photographers who, together with famous illustrators, painters, and designers, helped give the pages of the Rivista their unique look.

The illustrations selected for the articles in this publishing project are accompanied by their original captions, while all the illustrations that were not originally in the Rivista have explanatory notes and, where applicable, an indication of where they come from in our Historical Archive. The reason for this is twofold: to tell the story of the Rivista in a new, contemporary graphic form, and to show the wealth of images that our Foundation preserves and promotes.


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