Illy caffè is proud to present the new illy Art Collection featuring the work of Stefan Sagmeister, 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 delicate historical moment might seem out of tune, is in fact quite the contrary: the artist’s acute reflection right now becomes a strong symbol and message 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 a graph 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 it but living conditions have improved compared, for example, 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 in fact improved: life has lengthened, deaths from wars and natural disasters have decreased, 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 whatwe areexperiencingnow. 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 48 €

2 cappuccino cups at the suggested price of 58 €

4 espresso cups at the suggested price of 88 €

4 cappuccino cups at the suggested price of 108 €

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 asMarina 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.