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illycaffè art collection features works of Stefan Sagmeister

TRIESTE, Italy (PRNewswire) -- illycaffè presents the new illy Art Collection featuring the work of Stefan Sagmeister, the celebrated designer who used the blank canvas of the iconic illy espresso cup to express a deliberately disruptive concept: "Now = Better."


The slogan, that in this historical year might seem out of tune, is in fact quite the contrary: the artist's acute reflection becomes a strong symbol of renewed hope for the future.

What Sagmeister seeks to suggest is to take some time, even during a coffee break, to try to change our vision of the world looking at it from a long-term perspective.

In the new, colorful illy Art Collection the minimalist decorations of the saucer, made of precious minerals, are mirrored on the titanium surface of the cup.

In a play on perspective, the outline of the graphic creeps up the side demonstrating curves in growth, objective data of a progressive improvement over a long period.

This intriguing representation of information coupled with a prudent vision allows the "better data" – which we might otherwise have neglected thanks to the distractions of everyday media noise – to become immediately evident.

Using his own personal, ironic, and direct dialect, Sagmeister casts interesting reflections on time insinuating that perhaps we do not notice that living conditions have improved compared to the last century.

The impression we get from the pressing information that surrounds us reflects a world out of control, always on the edge of the abyss.  But if we look at it from a long-term perspective, many aspects that concern humanity have improved: life has lengthened, deaths from wars and natural disasters have decreased, and the majority of people now live in a democratic regime.

About 200 years ago, 9 out of 10 people did not know how to read or write; today the ratio has decreased to about 1 out of 10.

"The illy Art Collection project by Stefan Sagmeister has thrilled us from the start," explains Massimiliano Pogliani, CEO of illycaffè. "It is exactly what one expects from a brilliant 'cultural agitator' such as himself. It reminds us that we must continue to maintain a positive approach towards humanity which, despite everything, continues to progress even when difficulty strikes like what we are experiencing this year. This message is nourished in small daily gestures like drinking a coffee which, with illy, becomes a moment of inspiration, a stimulus to find happiness in everyday life, an invitation to live each minute to the fullest."

The Stefan Sagmeister collection is available beginning in November in the following formats:

2 espresso cups at the suggested price of $65.00 2 cappuccino cups at the suggested price of $70.00 4 espresso cups at the suggested price of $125.00 4 cappuccino cups at the suggested price of $135.00

illy Art Collection The illy Art Collection came to life in 1992, an idea of Francesco Illy: they are signature cups numbered and signed, to date, by over 100 internationally renowned artists.

Great masters such as Marina Abramovic, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Louis Bourgeois, Mark Quinn… among several other young creative talents.  

An object of everyday life, the Matteo Thun-designed cup thus becomes a blank canvas inspiring the protagonists of contemporary art, turning the gesture of drinking an espresso into an experience that involves the senses and the mind.

Stefan Sagmeister

Brilliant and provocative, Stefan Sagmeister is a name of reference in the graphic art world best known for his posters, album covers for international music icons such as Lou Reed, David Byrne, and the Rolling Stones, and cultural institutions such as the Guggenheim Museum.

Sagmeister was born in Bregenz, Austria in 1962. After high school he enrolled in an engineering course where he became passionate about graphics to the point of changing his course of study by moving to Vienna.

It is in this period that his work truly emerges, between alternative magazines, underground youth movements, and posters for concerts, all marked by a certain sarcastic humor that would come to define his style.

In a particularly symbolic example, one of his girlfriends at the time asks him to make her business cards, but on the condition that they didn't cost more than 1 dollar each. Sagmeister took her indication literally and printed the girl's name and address on dollar bills!

At 29, he moved to Hong Kong to work in the Leo Burnet office where a poster for an advertising prize caused a stir and protests. He continued his career in New York and then

Rome before founding Sagmeister Inc. in 1993 with the desire to work in the field of music graphics, but only with artists who truly believed in the practice.

Initially ignored by record companies, friends involved him in the design of the CD "Mountains of Madness" by the rock group H.P. Zinker resulting in a stunning work that took advantage of the physical properties of color and would go on to receive a Grammy nomination.

Sagmeister launched into a fruitful period of projects for icons such as David Byrne, Lou Reed, the Rolling Stones, and Pat Metheny which culminated with a 2005 Grammy for the cover of a collection by the Talking Heads.

Today, Sagmeister lives and works in New York where he develops experiential installations and formats such as "Beauty" dedicated to the concept of "beautiful" or "The Happy Show", an original compilation of art, design and science brought around the world to lend happiness through the visual experience of his works.

About illycaffè illycaffè is a family-run Italian company that was founded in Trieste in 1933 and is rooted in a mission to offer the best coffee in the world. illycaffè produces a single 100% Arabic blend, combining 9 of the best sourced coffees from all over the world.

Every day, 8 million cups of illy coffee are enjoyed in over 140 countries in the best bars, shops, restaurants, hotels, flagship cafes and stores, and of course at home. Thanks to a profound dedication to innovation, illy contributes greatly to the technological advancement of the world of coffee.

The foundation of the "Ernesto Illy Award for quality espresso coffee" in Brazil in 1991 remains today one of illy's defining contributions to the sharing of precious know-how, to the recognition of a higher price for farmers growing the best quality according to illycaffè and to partnerships signed on the basis of principles of sustainable development.

The company has also founded its Coffee University in Trieste which aims to spread coffee culture on all levels, offering complete and practical preparation to growers, baristas and coffee lovers, to strengthen and enrich every aspect of the product.

Everything that is 'made in illy' is enriched with beauty and art, the founding values of the brand, starting with the logo designed by the artist James Rosenquist, and the cups that make up the illy Art Collection, special edition pieces decorated by over 100 international artists.

In 2019 the company employed 1,405 people and has a consolidated turnover of €520.5 million. There are approximately 269 illy stores and salespoints worldwide in more than 40 countries.

SOURCES: illy; PRNewswire

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