The calculation of the relationship between space and work is a decisive factor in the Skyscraper’s design. The interiors would be designed on very modern principles; the offices would be equipped with new furniture, air conditioning, indirect lighting and sound insulation. In these ways the Pirelli Skyscraper was able to sustain, support and envisage new ways of experiencing work for the new Italy on the move.
The calculation of the relationship between space and work is a decisive factor in the Skyscraper’s design. Some of these concepts, the basis of the project, are also found in the report of the Pirelli board of directors of 1955. “The location, flanking the station and almost at the head of the new Business Centre, as well as the type of high-rise tower, ensure a presentation value that will be combined, given its constructional characteristics and the modernity of each attraction, with more comfortable conditions for the staff, and greater efficiency.” Gio Ponti, in an interview in Pirelli’s house organ “Fatti e Notizie” for 1955, also described the comforts that would benefit the workers in the building. The interiors would be designed on very modern principles; a minimum space of at least five square metres would be allotted to each employee and the offices would be equipped with new furniture, air conditioning, indirect lighting and sound insulation. In the Skyscraper, the various departments of the Pirelli company occupied the upper floors of the building: purchasing, personnel, accounts and administration, research, the general management of the cable and rubber branches, and the subsidiaries. The twenty-fifth floor housed the “Direzione Propaganda” (Advertising Department), which, together with the greatest graphic designers of the time, including Lora Lamm, Riccardo Manzi, Alessandro Mendini, Bruno Munari, Bob Noorda, Pino Tovaglia, and Massimo Vignelli, created advertising campaigns that soon became iconic. It was headed by Arrigo Castellani, who edited Pirelli magazine in the same years. This was a magazine that had been launched ten years earlier, in 1948. The magazine looked at Milan, Italy, and the world from the top of the Skyscraper, with contributions by great illustrators and masters of photography, and authors with international reputations such as Dino Buzzati, Italo Calvino, Camilla Cederna, Umberto Eco, Fernanda Pivano, Salvatore Quasimodo, Lietta Tornabuoni and many others. The design of the building was based on a careful study of the population of each floor and their needs. One of the reasons that led to the choice of a skyscraper rather than a building laid out horizontally was the potential to use lifts for moving internally. In addition, the mail sorting system was carefully designed for a daily mailing volume of 11,000 letters, 900 magazines, nearly 2,000 large packages and 300 telegrams. A system of booths along the whole length of the building was therefore designed to send mail from the post office to the desired floor by unloading it via an inclined plane inside a collector chute. In these ways the Pirelli Skyscraper was able to sustain, support and envisage new ways of experiencing work for the new Italy on the move.Read more
People step in and out of the lifts on the different floors, with office workers and other employees, officials, engineers, senior managers, occasionally exchanging greetings. They are all part of this little vertical city, this famous little city, all rather proud at being citizens of the famous Skyscraper