Matteo Thun designs the illy Art Collection dedicated to the 54th Barcolana sailing regatta

Trieste, September 28th, 2022 – Once again illycaffè celebrates the historic Barcolana, the international sailing regatta symbol of Trieste, now in its 54th year, with a special illy Art Collection. Elegant, essential lines by Matteo Thun, the Italian architect and designer who was one of the co-founders of the legendary Memphis Group, symbolize an important edition of the regatta, finally back in full force after two years of pandemic, with all the magic of the world’s leading sailing event.

A pupil of Oskar Kokoschka and Emilio Vedova and the founder of a multi-cultural design and architecture firm in Milan, Thun drew inspirations from the Barcolana’s values to come up with his own personal interpretation of the iconic cup, which he himself originally designed in 1991, and has since become a blank canvas to be customized by the leading contemporary artists.

From the joy of sailing the seas to the liveliness of a city like Trieste, and from respect for inclusiveness to curiosity and spontaneity, the Barcolana’s DNA, its aspirations, and its relationship with the participants are captured in a single image: a fingerprint coloured by Matteo Thun on the cup that conveys the powerful optimism that the human touch can disseminate worldwide. As the symbol on the poster of the 54th Barcolana, the lines of the fingerprint recall a moving sea: currents bringing empathy and vitality that come together in a burst of joie-de-vivre and leave a beneficent impression on the planet.

This is how the new illy Art Collection Barcolana, through lines, colours, and words, invites everyone on a journey along new and unexplored routes – much like sailors driven by curiosity, so do positive human influxes sail confidently towards their destination: happiness.

"Once again, this year, illycaffè supports Barcolana with a "gesture of beauty" and offers its contribution through art, a language we have been expressing ourselves in for years" comments Cristina Scocchia, CEO of illycaffè. "Just as illy transforms an everyday object - the coffee cup - into a work of contemporary art accessible to everyone, Barcolana transforms a sport activity commonly considered exclusive, - sailing - into a celebration that welcomes all lovers of the sea without distinction. That's why in this illy Art Collection Matteo Thun perfectly synthesizes the deepest sense of Barcolana: the joy of sharing a passion and cultivating shared values such as harmony between man and nature, inclusiveness, respect and joie de vivre. The same values that have always guided our company."

“I am very grateful to illy for involving me in this project, and I am very happy that other great artists have used the iconic cup to share and showcase their ideas. The lines of the fingerprint on the illy cup I originally designed exactly 30 years ago aim to convey the strong optimism that a human touch can instil on our planet and bear a very simple message: let’s leave a positive impression on the world” explains Matteo Thun.

Matteo Thun’s illy Art Collection cup will be available starting from September 30th at the suggested retail price of € 25 from single-brand sales points (illy Caffè and illy Shop) and the e-shop.

illy Art Collection
The illy Art Collections were born in 1992 from an idea of Francesco Illy: they are numbered author's cups signed by over 100 internationally renowned artists. Great masters such as Marina Abramovic, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Louis Bourgeois, Mark Quinn, AI Weiwei... and young creative talents. An everyday object like the white cup designed by Matteo Thun is transformed into a real canvas on which the protagonists of contemporary art continue to be inspired, making the gesture of drinking an espresso an experience that involves the senses and the mind.

Matteo Thun, architect and designer, was born and raised in the bilingual German and Italian speaking region of South Tyrol, Italy. Following his studies with Oskar Kokoschka and Emilio Vedova at the Salzburg Academy he graduated cum laude with a degree in Architecture from the University in Florence. He co-founded the ‘Memphis’ group in Milan in 1981 with Ettore Sottsass and opened his own studio in Milan in 1984. He established Matteo Thun & Partners in 2001 - the studio’s designs are inspired by timeless simplicity and centred on the human scale. The company is operating internationally in the hospitality, healthcare, residential, offices and retail sectors and product design.  Encompassing a team of 70 interdisciplinary architects, interior, product and graphic designers, Matteo Thun works from micro to macro scales with a focus on the management of highly complex projects. The work prioritises aesthetic durability, technological longevity, and the future lifespan of buildings and products. A profound respect for a project’s soul and a sensitive approach to the client’s individuality is key to all of Matteo Thun’s work. Specialising in hospitality, with a particular focus on luxury hotel projects and residences with character, Matteo Thun provides customised and turnkey concepts including architecture, interiors and lighting solutions. Wellbeing, too, is at the core of his design philosophy. This is expressed most clearly in healthcare projects, where the relationship between patients and their physical environment is the primary concern. Matteo Thun’s architecture, interior and product designs is the result of an on-going dialogue between the clients and its DNA, the location, its residents and its culture.