illy took its longstanding involvement in the arts to a level deeper in 2003, when it partnered with the Venice La Biennale, one of the world’s preeminent cultural events.  illy has participated in every Biennale since, with increasingly thought-provoking exhibitions, often in the form of visually striking spaces that stimulate the mind, while providing an  illymind space to relax and reflect.  A respite not unlike that of a beautiful coffee moment.

Each Biennale’s illymind space is created in collaboration with renowned artists, designers and other cultural forces, each in tune with the atmosphere it populates.


Robert Wilson  has designed at the Magazzini del Sale in Venice: “the dish ran away with the spoon everything you can think of is true”, an installation inspired by the collections of coffee cups, in which images, lights and sounds mark a pathway which winds its way through various landscapes inhabited by objects and sculptures.


illy presented the Sebastião Salgado photography exhibition "Scent of a Dream", a photographic journey through coffee growing countries, beginning in 2002 and ending in 2015 in Venice.


illy has chosen to characterize its presence at the 55th International Art Exhibition with the central role of coffee culture. In the under two years between now and the opening of EXPO 2015 in Milan, illy, which was chosen by the Organizing Committee as Coffee Cluster curator for the themed pavilion dedicated to coffee, will create a bridge between the Venice festival and the universal exhibition, thus making coffee the official drink of artistic thought.


It was a year of collaboration with Anish Kapoor. Picture a vortex of white smoke emitted from a circular base at the intersection of the transept and nave of the majestic Basilica of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice. Ascension was the name of the site-specific installation created by the artist and included among the collateral events of the 54th Venice Biennale. To mark the occasion,  the limited edition illy Art Collection of the same name was presented publicly.


Daniel Birnbaum curates an illymind project inspired by the theme Making Worlds, as illy introduces an illy Art Collection designed by Tobias Rehberger, the artist who designed the festival’s new bar and restaurant space in Biennale Gardens. His theme is camouflage: espresso cups literally seem to disappear inside the bar. In partnership with the Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation, illy promotes Anton’s Memory, an exhibition dedicated Yoko Ono, winner of the festival’s 2009 Golden Lion award for Lifetime Achievement.


The illy SustainArt program contributes Push Button House, an illymind project from cutting edge artist-architect Adam Kalkin that challenges us to consider more sustainable living environments.  At the touch of a button, a shipping container opens like a flower to reveal a fully furnished space – kitchen, living room, bedroom and more. The exhibition's theme is Think with the Senses - Feel with the Mind, complemented by a companion issue of illywords.



illymind debuts as partner at the International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice La Biennale.  Created to suit the festival’s overall theme, City, this illymind project has a direct webcam connection to Mantua, where illy is simultaneously participating in Festivaletteratura, a major literature event.  Two cities, two important cultural happenings, one stimulating idea.


illymind considers the question of restoring and reflecting throughout the sprawling Venice La Biennale. The result: the creation of 1,500 illychairs, completely portable with a shoulder strap and writing space. So the entire Biennale became an illymind space. A companion, dedicated illymind space from the American designer Andrea Blum, Gardens & Fountains, provides a beautiful and stimulating backdrop for social interaction.


Dreams and Conflicts: The Dictatorship of the Viewer. Created in 500 square meters spread across three distinct spaces, the inaugural illymind project is created with the help of Artemis and Moroso.  There is also research undertaken in collboratiion with the University Ca 'Foscari themed The ideal paradigm of the exhibition.