«Looking back over the course of our history, a number of values resurface that make us optimistic about the challenges that lie ahead». In an issue dedicated to the vision of the future, Chairman Fabrizio Di Amato senses an air of novelty. In the next years the processes of change toward sustainability will accelerate: to keep pace, engineering will have to learn to recognize and interpret scenarios that impose historic paradigm changes.

«The companies in this sector – explains Di Amato – will have to provide creative, innovative and effective answers to help the economy and growth combine with social needs and the protection of the planet’s resources. We believe that these times call for a transformation of classical engineering into a “humanistic engineering”, capable of solving increasingly complex problems with critical thinking and a multidimensional vision that takes ethical, social and environmental aspects into account».

This is all the more true in a society that is progressing towards pervasive digitalization, which must be governed with cross-functional intelligence adapted to govern data. «Without memory, it’s hard to determine whether we’re really going down the road of innovation. Historically, Italian engineering has achieved important results outside its borders, also owing to a business vision that does not solely look at innovative technology, but recognizes the value and skills of individuals as its winning feature».

Critical thinking and creative intelligence represent the backbone and the lifeblood of Italian leadership in the world: a leadership based on ingenuity combined with a sense of beauty. Something to cultivate and know how to preserve. «Representing our country in the world – continues the Group’s Chairman – by enhancing Italian engineering and its unique skills, is the work of ambassadors who represent Made in Italy and makes us proud. I remember a passage by Professor Maurizio Masi of the Chemical Engineering Department of the Milan Polytechnic Institute, who during the ceremony for the honorary degree awarded to me explained how the term “engineer” has a double root: the Latin root that links it to ingenuity and the Anglo-Saxon root that links it to the machine, the engine. An engineer must be “Homo Faber” (Latin for “Man the Maker”) par excellence and express the best synthesis of these two roots. His task is to modify the world around him in order to adapt it and, with a sense of ethics, improve it to his own needs by personally intervening. If necessary, he gets his hands dirty, molds and modifies what he finds, designs and builds, making variations and improvements over time. In the history of our Group, I see these characteristics again: our results are not a product of luck or family inheritance, but of hard work, always aimed at innovation and respect for the environment».

Art and culture as a means of communication

It is from this background, this Italian touch that distinguishes an international group like Maire Tecnimont, that the work of this new EVOLVE Foundation was born, committed to functioning as a “trait d’union” between past, present and future. «Inspired by a historical heritage of immense value, the Foundation of our Group was born at the end of 2021. The goal is ambitious: to make people understand the fundamental role that engineering can play in the era of ecological and digital transition, putting Maire Tecnimont’s historical, technical and cultural identity at the service of training tomorrow’s humanist engineers».
If the magazine EVOLVE – in its role as an incubator of ideas, a creative laboratory – suggested continuity with its name, its foundation was not born to be a generic institution of vertical themes, but as a further laboratory of events and initiatives on the themes of humanistic engineering. Everything was created around a historical archive of seven thousand drawings and projects by the most famous Italian engineers and architects, personalities who have marked the evolution of engineering and architecture in the entire country. They include highways, office centers, residential districts, urban recoveries born from the genius of Quaroni, Nervi, Morandi, Zevi, Aulenti, Gabetti, Isola, Piano, Rogers. A heritage that now extends to chemical, energy, and industrial engineering. «It is the rediscovery of that all-Italian ingenuity that has left such a valuable mark on the world and that holds together vision, culture, intellect, and entrepreneurial spirit. It is a symbol for engineers, and of how engineering is the application of knowledge that transforms reality» explains Fabrizio Di Amato, who is also Chairman of the Foundation.

«The humanist engineer – he continues – has always been discussed within specialized and historical circuits. Our idea is to bring this theme into public debate, with a distinctive contribution that reinforces the historical value of Italian engineering. Possessing a classical technical and intellectual background, which has drawn on the Greek, Latin and Renaissance cultural heritage, can be considered neither a burden nor a sterile inheritance. On the contrary: it is a counterbalance to technology that reproduces itself, that forgets to value the human component in depth. This “humanist” background gives you a sense of horizontal complexity, makes you evolve in a way that is complementary to the excellence focused on vertical technologies, without frustration and feelings of inferiority regarding the global debate. Therefore, by starting with the valorization of an historical archive that looks toward the future, we believe in a vision of sustainability that is ahead of its time».

Maire Tecnimont has therefore set itself an ambitious goal in creating its Foundation: entrusting it with the task of promoting the Group’s historical heritage – fully digitized and accessible on request by scholars and researchers – it will use art and culture as a means of communication and networking to disseminate scientific content and carry out socio-economic studies, training and educational projects. All in collaboration with universities and other non-profit organizations, for the benefit of the communities of the territories in which it operates.

«Returning a historical archive to the memory of the territory and the community plays two important roles – concludes Fabrizio Di Amato – on one hand, the preservation of a patrimony, and on the other, the valorization and sharing of it. The future “humanist engineers” must be able to face the complexity of this era with a high and wide-ranging gaze. I imagine a group of professionals at the service of sustainable development, which can incorporate economic and financial sustainability along with social, environmental, cultural and technological dimensions. If ingenuity represents the essence of what it means to be Italian in the world, then the archives of the Foundation could be a source of inspiration for tomorrow’s green design and green industry. Let’s invest in the past to be certain of the future».