After working perfectly as a popular magazine, Pirelli started changing in the late 1950s. Not drastically, but significantly. It entered a period of great aesthetic experimentation.
In 1957 Tofanelli stepped down and the new editor-in-chief was Arrigo Castellani, the head of Pirelli’s “Propaganda” department, a man who was particularly sensitive and close to talented young graphic artists and photographers.
And along came Ezio Sellerio, Ugo Mulas and Fulvio Roiter, alternating with Pino Tovaglia, Franco Grignani and Renato Guttuso to create gigantic covers. The masthead becomes ever more discreet, without ever losing its importance. Sometimes it almost disappears, as in the superimposition over the photo by Fulvio Roiter, which portrays two women in front of the bazaar in Isfahan, Persia (no. 5, 1964).
The page layouts become increasingly experimental and the photographs and illustrations go from politely accompanying the text to becoming a part of it, in a way that is not merely stylistic but that opens up the narrative potential. The elements interact and enrich each other. The photographs become words and the words photographs.
Entire picture stories are created in the photo reportage by Ugo Mulas on the workers digging the Mont Blanc Tunnel (no. 5, 1962), the one by Arno Hammacher at the construction site of the Milan Metro (no. 1, 1960) and the one on the “volcano in bloom” by Enzo Sellerio (no. 2, 1964), to mention but a few.
And there were monographic issues, such as “The Time of Man: Work and Otherwise” (no. 3, 1968): with specially designed lettering – some of Pino Tovaglia’s most ingenious – on the cover, and illustrations by Riccardo Manzi interspersing and enlivening the pages inside.
The magazine became more aware of its appeal and lent itself to the role of muse for the world of creative talents, becoming a centre of international attraction and dialogue.
In 1965, Pirelli entrusted the Christmas cover of the magazine (no. 5, 1965) to Saul Bass, who was already famous as a logo designer and illustrator for Hollywood film directors, including Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick. Bass’s contribution was as intimate as could be: a photo of his new-born daughter Jennifer. The following year, the cover was repeated, with Jennifer a year older; as the caption puts it, “her mother’s arm is no longer her whole world; now she looks with huge enchanted eyes”.