It’s been a dry spell for the Illy Art Collection of espresso cups and other ephemera of the bean.
Last year saw the Almodovar set of 5 + 1, and one other single cup. 2008 was almost as spare. Why? Several reasons, not the least of which is the global economy. But this has also been a long couple of years of re-alignment and recovery from the loss of the Illy family’s leadership.
But there is a new cup — or pair of cups sharing a saucer — produced as a “gift” for those that donate to the Ernesto Illy Foundation in the amount of at least 100 Euros. (pictured above)
It’s not specifically part of the art collections, and does not feature the Illy sig on the inside of the cup (instead, it features the Foundation’s logo.) It also does not have the normal sig/# on the cups base. In fact, the cups appear to have been produced independently in all regards. Nonetheless, the Matteo Thun cup design is there, and is hinted at in the unique double saucer.
Because of the gold used in the glaze, it is not safe in a microwave or recommended for the dishwasher — but who among us puts these little gems in a dishwasher?
We know there have been at least 3 prototype sets of cups produced in the last year and a half —
We know the Illy family has stepped up its involvement in the arts across the board.
For now — it’s a good little pair to tide us over.