About Illy Art Collection

illy Art Collection Since 1992

An ongoing project to turn the porcelain coffee cup designed by Matthew Thun, an icon of illy, into something new. The cup becomes a white canvas for contemporary artists from all over the world.

Every illy Art Collection project starts with the same, elegant canvas: the iconic, white illy espresso cup introduced by renowned architect and designer Matteo Thun in 1992. Inspired by the Platonic philosophy of kalokagathia, meaning the union of the beautiful and the good, Illy initiated a campaign of inviting contemporary artists—some of them world famous and some completely unknown—to use Illy coffee cups as the starting point for original works of art.   

Taking cup as muse, more than 70 of the world’s foremost artists have created collections since - no two ever alike, and each a revelation.



The new illy Art Collection tells a story of sisterhood.

These sisters meet at a coffee shop. They are not really sisters, but they are as good as family. These women, with their different personalities, meet for coffee and cake. They talk and laugh, sometimes they disagree, but they always enjoy sharing.

A conversation with six voices, talking about the future: six personalities, six colours, bringing a unique point of view.


Olimpia Zagnoli is an Italian illustrator known all over the word. She was born in Reggio Emilia, and thanks to the innovative approach of the schools in that area, she actually started exploring her creativity as early as kindergarten. Later she moved to Milan where she her took her first steps in illustration. In New York she began collaborating with publications like the New York Times. She began to establish her style, and her soft forms and choice of just a few bright colours pay homage as much to Futurism as to the Beatles. She has collaborated with illy on various projects, including this new Illy Art Collection, exploring her world through a dialogue between six female figures.

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