Large companies and culture, a winning combination. Fashion or steel, infrastructure or food, pharmaceuticals or tourism, it does not matter what the sector is, what counts is investing in cultural events, transforming them into a noble instrument to promote a brand.
That is the path the Webuild group has taken for some years now, as the leader in complex infrastructure construction has chosen to promote cultural events around the world. Agenda Cultura, the group’s initiative which groups all its cultural and artistic activities, is rich with appointments, past, present and future. From concerts organized in the United States to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of the composer Arturo Toscanini, the shows dedicated to the genius of Raffaello Sanzio, the events organized to commemorate the saving of the Abu Simbel temples, are but some examples of the group’s cultural efforts.
Rome and Milan, two Italian cities on show
The last two Agenda Cultura initiatives supported by the Webuild group involved two great Italian cities: Rome and Milan. Two shows took place in February and March at the Vittoriano in Rome and at the home of the Triennale in Milan. The “Rome silent beauty” show was a collection of photographs by Moreno Maggi, portraits of the empty city during the Covid-19 lockdown. Over a few weeks, thousands of people visited the Vittoriano to admire this visual tale that observed not the dramatic effects of the pandemic as much as the opportunity to rethink cohabitation in a large city, so that large public works can contribute to make them more sustainable and easier to live.
In Milan Webuild organized the “Building the future” show, partnering with Milan’s Triennale, which highlights the large infrastructure projects the group has realized around the world: railways, dams, bridges, hydroelectric plants, all opportunities for economic and social renewal for the countries that today enjoy them.
The building of the new Panama Canal, the San Giorgio Bridge in Genoa, or the Terzo Valico dei Giovi, the future high speed rail line that will connect Genoa and Milan, and Milan’s M4 subway thus become the protagonists of a cultural journey across a world with everything still to live for.
A common cultural heritage: the visitors’ comments
“An unexpected show, let’s hope you will be able to realize all these dreams.” That’s how one of the visitors of the Building the future show in Milan described the emotion felt while touring the installations telling the tales of great, complex infrastructure.
Bridges roads, railways and dams represented inside the spaces of Milan’s Triennale are described by the visitors in the guest book.
“Congratulations for this exciting and engaging show,” wrote one visitor, “that in these difficult times lets us hope humanity is not adrift.”
Such testimonials are messages in a bottle for the world, because the stories included in the show, which runs through March 26, are dedicated to Webuild’s great projects and the most ambitious challenges achieved in every corner of the planet. “Mankind has realized some crazy stuff. Well done!” writes one visitor observing the marvels of engineering. “Marvelous to see Italy is still a great country,” adds another.
Thousands of words inked on paper, hundreds of posts on the web since the inauguration on February 27, have accompanied the show in Milan. The first comment, “Stefania is stupendous!”, was a cheer for Stefania, the mechanical mole that dug the tunnel for Milan’s new subway. In a complex and courageous operation, the head of the TBM was taken to the entrance of the Triennale where it now reigns as if it were a contemporary art sculpture.
“Like a Pomodoro sculpture,” commented one visitor, appreciating the value of the great works and the machines used to build them, modern instruments that go beyond the confines of the work site add new forms of living and interacting on a daily basis for people.
“Rome silent beauty” is the tale of the country of beauty. This too was a public success with 700,000 interactions. A physical event accompanied by video, advertisements and posts that fueled visitors’ desire to visit and comment on it.
“Saw it on Sunday,” reads a comment on social media, “truly splendid. Even my kids were enchanted.”
Another writes, “Very emotional, unique images, I advise all to see it.”
The comments flow, one after the other, capturing every detail of the show. “Unique and rare photos,” one young visitor writes on his social media account, “of a surreal beauty.” And many seize the opportunity to imagine how the eternal city could be. “This is a chance to reimagine our beautiful city,” one Roman writes, “a sustainable city built for people.”
A deserted Rome is also a potential work site, that of the subways’ C line or other works that will change the face of Italy’s capital. To succeed, in this endeavor, courage and vision are necessary.