illy’s longstanding interest in the arts takes many forms. For one, in making important contributions to the creation and exposure of contemporary art, by supporting artists, institutions and international exhibitions. Illy’s collaborations with contemporary masters include Marina Abramovic, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Jannis Kounellis, Louise Bourgeois, Jeff Koons, Robert Rauschenberg, Jan Fabre and James Rosenquist, creator of the iconic white brushstroke-on-red square illy logo.
Undoubtedly, the illy Art Collection stands as illy’s highest profile, ongoing cultural project. Transforming that most everyday of objects, the coffee cup, into small works of art, using ceramic cup as medium, the project has for 20 years elevated the simple pleasure of drinking an espresso into an experience that fully engages the senses and the mind. More than 70 contemporary masters have contributed designs, each adorning the signature, white porcelain illy cup introduced by Mattheo Thun in 1992. In 2006, the project expanded to another common if wonderfully unexpected medium, illy’s own coffee cans.