Period photos, sketches, designs, notebooks, fabrics: an archive documenting 110 years of history, and it’s all available online on the Google Arts&Culture platform, a useful service for sharing history and beauty in these weeks of the #iorestoacasa (I stay at home) campaign. Like the world’s most important museums, the heritage conserved in the Zegna Archives can be enjoyed remotely, with no need to hurry or cram everything into a single day’s visit.
Browsing through the photo galleries takes you on a virtual journey that reveals the vision of Ermenegildo Zegna, who founded the eponymous wool mill in Trivero in 1910 and gradually implemented projects to conserve and ameliorate the environment and local communities. It was his vision that inspired his heirs to found Oasi Zegna in 1993.
The “Ermenegildo Zegna” gallery, for example, is a graphic narration of the founder’s long and enlightened entrepreneurial journey. Period photos show him on inspections at the construction sites of the Panoramica Zegna road, together with the men at work, or on his walks, always elegantly dressed, with hat and cane. While in more recent photos we see his sons Angelo and Aldo, in the first boutique opened in Paris in 1980. The most recent ones, on the other hand, are of the 3rd generation, that of Gildo and Paolo, who run the business today.
“La montagna che non c’era” (the mountain that wasn’t there) is a section on the creation of Bielmonte and the first projects there (the chairlift, Chalet Bielmonte, etc.) and the idea out of which the whole development grew: Ermenegildo Zegna wanted a winter tourism site suitable for families. This gallery also shows us where the name came from. In 1950 the Panoramica Zegna had reached its highpoint, at Alpe Marca di Piatto, and Ermenegildo Zegna christened that point Bielmonte, which has for 60 years now been a ski resort valued above all by families and people in general who want to live the most genuine essence of the mountains.
The other galleries – or “stories” - track the evolution of Zegna style over the decades, the craft know-how and innovation concealed behind the various fabrics, from the one bearing the No. 1, conceived and designed by Ermenegildo Zegna himself, to the high-tech eco-compatible ones of today. There are also sections on the advertising campaigns, including the splendid and innovative ones in the Thirties (a 1937 poster tells us that “the Wool Mill is a supplier to his Highness the Prince of Piedmont”), and on the art exhibitions that have been put on at Casa Zegna over the years.
A rich and variegated museum then that’s ideal for a virtual tour whenever you feel like it.