A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

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.


The Ruby Slippers


Global Voices


  1. Dar

    Though i hate coffe , Bs Ya3ni kam 7a2 el dazeineh , eno i might like to get my mom a dozen on the Mother’s day , it will be a good gift right ?!…….. :P
    Cheerz !

  2. I might go for coffee but absolutely not espresso … but the cups look really beautiful

    You should be able to do some art work yourself Roba … you certainly have it in you ..

    I remember going to a coffee shop in Abu Dhabi .. I don’t remember if it was called “Arabesque” or “Ceramic” .. but the point is that you get to draw on your own cub and use colors according to your preferences .. they allow you 5 different colors but if you go in a group .. each can have 5 and you end up having all the colors you can ask for … I colored a mug for myself .. I love it so much .. it gives me a nice memory and most importantly .. it was a very relaxing experience .. I don’t know if we have something like that in Amman .. do we?

  3. You designers are weird. You elaborate:

    all the colors of the rainbow in an infinity of shades

    when you can simple say:

    random colors

    hm… if all graphic designers in the world were computer geeks…

  4. God love people who drink [gahwa]

  5. Fadi K.

    Hello .. nice collections .. the”no water no coffee ” series is a popular one .. a German mineral water producer (apollinaris) adopted this concept 150 years ago and is considered one of the finest mineral waters in the world… check for this

    But anyway , my favorite cup is the blank classic white cup : )

  6. Good taste in coffee and cups I have to say, nothing is quiet like a morning that starts with fresh Espresso straight from an old fashioned none electrical Italian Espresso maker (an Italian bakrag as I call it) ;) some biscuits oh ya and Fayrooz.. and some not so talkative company.

    My personal Favourite of the illy collections is one called pen tests, which I’m sure you know, something about the look and the concept is amazing.

    By the way illy is Amici in Switzerland and I believe some collections are only sold as Amici…..

    God dame I need a coffee now.. Someone show me the next plane to Rome ..;)

  7. Some impressive designs showcased. Perhaps I should start creating mug designs and retire a rich man.

  8. nice photos as usual.

  9. Caffeine with style,mmmmMMmhhhgrrh (Homer-style drooling)

    Roba I have good news :] The good folks at Coca Cola will launch a new product.A coffee-infused drink called Coca-Cola Blak :D and it’s like the C2 line, half the bad guys (sugar,calories and carbohydrates )

    Happy Days….Happy Days!

  10. Khalidah, studying fine arts and design entails a lot of having to do art. And the mug thing sounds awesome.. I don’t think ew have such a thing in Amman no..

    Arrabi, lol, I don’t think it has to do with design, I think it’s just me :) I like the trims and the lace :P

    Abdelstar, lol.. yeah.. hard to live without!

    Fadi, hmm.. although I’m a huge afficianado of the design of Apollinaris(beautiful minimalism!) the idea is different with Apollinaris. Here, Illy is trying to support water waste awareness, by telling coffee addicts that if they don’t take care of water today, there might not be any coffee tomorrow. Apollinaris is just stressing on the importance of water as a component.

    Nidal,lol, I agree.. coffee, McVities digestive biscuits(I know it sounds nasty, you wont appreciate it unless you know it), and as you said, fairuz!!! heavenly… :)

    Dave, lol, sounds like a wonderful idea! :)

    Firas, lol.. wallah.. that is absolutely useful for someone like me.. i drink soda and coffee excissevely.. :)

  11. Roba – I have posted pictures of the mug on my blog … hmmmm … that actually rhymed .. LOL

    Come take a look at my masterpiece :)

  12. She

    I also love funky artsy coffee cups, almost as much as I love coffee! Those sets are beatiful, especially the ones bursting with color.

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