illycaffè, partner of ARCOlisboa, celebrates 30 years of the illy Art Collection presenting the most iconic cups

Lisboa, May 19th, 2022 illycaffè is the official partner of ARCOlisboa, the contemporary art fair which will be held in the Portuguese capital from May 19th to 22nd, 2022.

illy is a global coffee brand founded in Trieste in 1933 and recognized for its sustainable quality and for its commitment to contemporary art over the last 30 years, which has influenced illy to transform an everyday object, such as the white espresso cup, into one of the most diverse and accessible collections of art objects in the world. This year illycaffè celebrates 30 years of the illy Art Collection at ARCOlisboa.

For illycaffè, whose distinctive values are Good, Goodness, and Beauty, contemporary art joins beauty to taste. The beauty illycaffè strives to achieve is inspired by the ancient Greek concept of kalokagathìa, which combines kalòs (that which is beautiful) and agathòs (that which is good) to create a new meaning in which beauty and goodness become one, each depending on the other.

The illy Art Collection cups are a tangible expression of this concept. This project was launched in 1991, and through it the company transformed a cup into a blank canvas by inviting contemporary artists to express their creativity onto the espresso cup that Matteo Thun created for illy. Over the years, this canvas has featured the work of over 100 internationally renowned artists, including Michelangelo Pistoletto, Marina Abramović, Anish Kapoor, James Rosenquist, William Kentridge, Yoko Ono, Gillo Dorfles, Robert Wilson, Ai Weiwei and others…

Coffee lovers sipping an illy espresso from a cup designed by an artist combine the aroma and flavour of the illy blend with a complete aesthetic, visual, and tactile experience, entering into a relationship with contemporary art. Visitors to the ARCOlisboa fair will be able to enjoy the unique illy blend in the courtyard of Lisbon's Coodoaria Nacional, where illy espresso and cans of illy cold brew Ready to Drink will be offered. 

The complete exhibition of the illy Art Collection is available at Royal Garden in Venice where, until June 30th, 2022, visitors will be able to discover how 125 international artists of contemporary art have interpreted the historic white cup designed in 1991 by Matteo Thun. The exhibition showcases 114 collections and 459 different cups, representing one of the largest collections of contemporary art in the world.