Pirelli Headquarters are located in Milan, in the area known as Bicocca district, and bring together the heritage of the 15th century architecture and the contemporary buildings from the 20th century.
The district takes its name from the Bicocca degli Arcimboldi, a country house built in 15th Century from the aristocratic Arcimboldi family. Currently part of the Headquarters, it became property of Pirelli in 1918 and for over sixty years it has been the Group’s official reception venue.
Bicocca district has undergone profound changes over the years and the Pirelli-Bicocca redevelopment plan (1980s-2000s) was one of the greatest urban projects carried out in Milan for redeveloping the industrial area. That plan was keenly championed by Pirelli and its then chairman, Leopoldo Pirelli, which introduced a new concept of urban planning: the evolution from factories that made products to factories that produce ideas and knowledge, connecting the company district to the surrounding urban neighbourhood. The project started in 1988 when the Gregotti Associati studio won this international pitch that included the creation of a “multipurpose, integrated technology centre” for Pirelli. The cooling tower, part of the independent thermal power Pirelli built after Second World War (1950) to ensure continuous production, was to be incorporated into the HQ Building, the Group’s new General Headquarters, after the years of the Pirellone designed by Gio Ponti - which opened in 1960 in the area of the first Pirelli factory near the Milan Railway Central Station. The result is a 10-storey, 50x50-metre cube building with three sides for offices, while the fourth front, which faces the Bicocca degli Arcimboldi, has a vast 168-tonne 1800 m2 glass façade. The 46 meter-tall hyperbole-profile reinforced-concrete tower, with a diameter of 32 metres at the base and 22 at the top, nowadays contains an Auditorium on the ground floor and meeting rooms on the various floors above, linked to the offices by aerial walkways, and a heliport on the roof.
Carlo Furgeri Gilbert, Pirelli Headquarters, 2008. Courtesy of Fondazione Pirelli
Today almost 1700 people work in the four buildings of the Pirelli Headquarters: the HQ, the Diablo Rosso, the P Zero and the Innovation buildings.
Moreover the Headquarters houses the Fondazione Pirelli, established in 2008 to preserve and disseminate the cultural, historical and contemporary heritage of the company and to promote its corporate culture. The Fondazione (Stella Bianca building) hosts the Pirelli Historical Archive, the Pirelli scientific library, a reading room and an open space used for exhibitions and activities opened to the public.
In the Bicocca district has its place also Pirelli HangarBicocca, the institution devoted to contemporary art supported and run by Pirelli since 2011, located in what was a former industrial plant converted into exhibition spaces.