This year, illy is celebrating a milestone in its collaboration programme, which has seen the Italian coffee brand work alongside some of the world’s leading artists and designers to create limited-edition versions of its iconic espresso and cappuccino cups.
The new book, titled “30 Years of Beauty” takes readers through each of the collaborations: from the first in 1992, through to the most recent 2022 editions. The inspiration behind each is revealed, alongside archive drawings and photographs of the production.
“In 1992, a group of artists expressed their creativity on the surface of the coffee cup designed by Matteo Thun for illy. This marked the birth of the illy Art Collection, which transformed an object of everyday use into a white canvas on which 125 artists of international fame, from great maestros to young talents, have tested their skills over the years.
Thirty years later, the leading names in contemporary art continue to find inspiration in the white porcelain surface. Together, we have created a unique collection of small works of art in the shape of a cup.”
For each iteration of illy’s Art Collection, the artist is given the white cup as a blank canvas. They are then given the freedom to express whatever concept across its surface – some opting to apply pattern, and others adding new forms to its existing shape. Artists over the years have included Marina Abramovic, Ron Arad, Louise Bourgeois, Daniel Buren, Anish Kapoor, Marc Quinn, Ai Wei Wei, and Stefan Sagmeister.
On the occasion of this year’s Salone del Mobile, the brand celebrated the book at an exhibition, in which photographs of the cups were displayed across two spaces.
Illy Art Collection: 30 Years of Beauty is available to purchase from publisher Silvana Editoriale, and is priced at €33.25 (approximately $35.20 USD).
In other design news, Italian fashion house Tod’s has worked with bike manufacturer Colnago to create a limited-edition gravel model, which aims to showcase the values of each brand respectively.