illy Art Collection by Ron Arad for the 53rd Barcolana sailing regatta

LONDON, Oct. 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — In keeping with tradition, on the 53rd Barcolana sailing regatta, the iconic espresso cup designed by Matteo Thun for illy in 1991 becomes a canvas to be decorated by the most important contemporary artists. For this year’s edition, illycaffè has chosen the Israeli artist and designer Ron Arad, whose work is on display in the world’s leading art collections. He drew inspiration from the 53rd Barcolana’s motto, “The New Routes”, to create his own version of the iconic cup.


The new illy Art Collection Barcolana features a minimalistic style with sinuous lines that give life to the very essence of the regatta itself – the sea, the boats, and their sails. In Ron Arad’s cup, sailing takes on new forms, thanks in part to his decision to choose a type of brush that can reproduce traditional painting techniques in the digital medium. Through lines, colours, and images that evoke nautical charts and maps, we are invited on a journey along new and uncharted routes.

“In this illy Art Collection Ron Arad gives our cup the spirit of freedom and innovation that permeates the 53rd Barcolana. We are proud to renew our partnership with the city of Trieste’s flagship event, and to dedicate this new illy Art Collection to it. It encourages us not to be afraid of the challenges that await us and motivates us to embark on new routes on blue seas and under clear skies. A message of hope and confidence that we are glad to offer everyone through a great cup of coffee” says Massimiliano Pogliani, CEO of illycaffè.

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.

Ron Arad 

Ron Arad, an architect and designed, was born in Tel Aviv in 1951. He was one of the founders of the One Off design agency in 1981 and in 1989, together with Caroline Thorman, he founded Ron Arad Associates, an architecture and design firm. He is currently Professor of Product Design at the Royal College of Art in London. The name Ron Arad is synonymous with constant experimentation with materials and radical conceptual re-design of forms and structures in furniture, and this has made him one of the leading lights of contemporary design. His professional activity is focused on limited edition pieces. His work has been featured in major museums and art galleries, often as part of famous collections such as those of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, and the Vera Design Museum in Germany