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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

La cultura del caffe

Sometimes, when I'm in dire need of creative therapy(especially in such a boring semester), I hit the shelves of caffeine, not only for the much-needed coffee buzz, but also for the perfect cup of espresso of contemporary art issued by illycaffe.

As if the fact that these cups are decorated with my favorite art type- contemporary- is not enough, each cup is designed by young artists and designers that manage to capture a concept related to the year of release.

My favorite ever illy design(above right) is a part of a collection designed by the students of P.S.1(above left) I have loved this particular design from the moment it came out- the rainbow of colors and energy that seem to burst out of the surface completely makes me drool.

I also love the above collection, designed by two students from the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. I think that the play with shadow and the element of surprise add a very fascinating twist to a regular cup of coffee.

Another collection that strikes my fancy is called "World Cups"(above) and designed by Robert Rauschenberg. The cups and saucers were created from virtual maps of some of the most lively cities in the world. They take you on trip from the blocks of Manhattan to the boulevards of Moscow, from Rio to Rome, from the wide arteries of Mexico City and Beijing which underline the international nature of coffe.

This series, also designed by a student, is entitled "No Water, No Coffee", and aims to highlight the importance of water- "Water is an element that is always present in our daily lives, even in a cup of espresso." Although I'm not quite sure I appreciate the graphics, I like the idea of combining a do-world-good concept with your daily cup of coffee.

Although I do not like the colors of this series at all, I love the idea of visually expressing the difference between "Conflict" and "Dream". By Francesco Bonami, these cups represent the fact that "our time no longer enables us to think of a great event of contemporary art as an exercise and a purely aesthetic dream, which is detached from the world and society, then it is even more unlikely that a show is the mere documentation of the world we live in and its conflicts."

A tribute to the "Love difference" project, which is an artistic movement that calls upon directly the creativity in order to give a revived sense of the term "geo-political". The aim is to bring together, around the regions facing onto the Mediterranean Sea, people and institutions interested in creating new prospects that reach beyond the conflict between different cultures.

My love for pop art always takes the best of me, so I had to include this collection designed by pop artist James Rosenquist. The cups are decorated with strips of colored paper that represent all the colors of the rainbow in an infinity of shades, glued down in knots and then pressed between two sheets of transparent plexiglass.

There are many more wonderful collections that you can see on illy's website here.

I'm a complete freak when it comes to my coffee cup(to the extent that no one is allowed to drink from my favorite pair unless they're really, really special people), so I totally appreciate beautiful coffee cup designs such as these.

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