Pirelli has a rich tradition of artistic engagement.

Founded in 1872, the brand has worked with renowned Italian and international artists since its onset. We most frequently remember the racy calendars (which have employed talents like Bruce Weber and Terry Richardson) and the inventive collaboration with New York-based tattoo artist Scott Campbell (which found the artist hand carving a tire in the same fashion as the guys creating prototypes in Pirelli's R&D factory). Art is, simply put, in the Pirelli DNA.

Yesterday in Milan, Pirelli unveiled its 2011 Annual Report, complete with 18 illustrations by Dutch artist Stefan Glerum. A graduate of the Academy St. Joost in Breda, Holland, Glerum's work is inspired by Futurism, Art Deco, and Constructivism, all of which naturally connect to the Pirelli brand. But, aesthetic links are not all the illustrator and tire manufacturer have in common. "I am a big fan of Formula 1," Glerum revealed before the official presentation, "and, I like to draw fancy race cars."

His task for the annual report was to translate key words represented by the company and to help enhance communication. These words include care, flexibility, reliability, and speed. Pirelli's Chairman noted, "It is part of our story, Pirelli has always had a tradition of working with young artists and it is important to tie the value of culture to the company."

In addition to the illustrations, Glerum also created a special typeface playing with the idea of rubber. The overall design of the annual report was completed by Francesco Valtolina, and additional texts are provided by authors H.M. Enzensberger, Guillermo Martinez, W.L. Heat-Moon, and Javier Cercas.

The artistic collaborations turn an average annual report into a collectable design object communicating Pirelli's character and heritage. "This is all part of our communication process," said the Chairman, "mixing and merging worlds, because cultural growth ensures a place in the future."

Click the thumbs to see Stefan Glerum's illustrations for the Pirelli 2011 Annual Report.

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