Earlier this year, we met with Francesca Lavazza for breakfast before heading to the Guggenheim Museum. Lavazza was in town to touch-base regarding her family’s ongoing support for the museum. Since 2014, the Italian coffee brand Lavazza has been a global partner of the Guggenheim, sponsoring exhibitions and placing product in the museum’s café.
In New York, Lavazza supported “Visionaries: Creating a Modern Guggenheim” (on view through September 6). Including over 170 modern works from The Guggenheim Foundation’s collection, the show, curated by Megan Fontanella, celebrates the museum’s 80th anniversary.
Walking through the exhibition featuring works by artists like Camille Pissaro, Jackson Pollock, Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp, Pablo Picasso, and Vasily Kandinsky was a treat with Francesca Lavazza, who herself is a collector of art.
When her great grandfather, Luigi Lavazza, founded the company in Torino, Italy in 1895, coffee was, as she described it to us, “a sensation.” Locals gathered over cups of coffee to debate the days issues, making Lavazza, arguably, a key propeller in culture. And for over 122 years, a passion for life and art has remained at the brand’s core.
That plays out today in a recently-announced multi-year partnership with the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. “The Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice is an iconic institution founded by a woman who I deeply admire,” she said. “With this latest collaboration in Venice, our company is taking yet another crucial step in developing our role as a global driver for the arts and culture. We are proud of Lavazza’s history of more than two decades of supporting photography projects, cultural institutions and other initiatives that not only strategically align our products with a key audience segment, but more importantly help generate unique and thought-provoking programs.”
That relationship included support of the exhibition “Mark Tobey: Threading Light,” the first European retrospective of the artist in over 20 years, which opened during the 57th Venice Biennale and is on view through September 10.
Lavazza is no stranger to Venice, either. Since 2015, the Italian coffee purveyor has been involved with the Civic Museums of Venice, overseeing operations for institutions like the Fortuny Museum.
Currently, as well, Lavazza’s headquarters are undergoing a new build by architect Cino Zucchi, with completion slated for later this year. The new complex will be connected to a lush plaza, which will be open to the public, and will encompass a Ralph Appelbaum-designed Lavazza Museum to show the manufacturer’s historic roots in the coffee industry. There will also be a convention center for third-party events, a farm-to-table restaurant, and the “Condividere by Lavazza”—an innovative culinary concept in collaboration with Ferran Adriá.
It’s a “sort of place where Lavazza is able to show the ability to blend its different approach to the heart, food, and to the coffee experience, of course,” said Francesca Lavazza. “We are also dividing our place with the Istituto d’Arte Applicata e Design (IAAD)—a very vibrant place for more than 400 students.”
And this winter, keep your eye out for the sought-after Lavazza calendar, an in-house project that that began in 1993, showcasing its 20-year history of working with some of the world’s most profound photographers, like Steve McCurry, Helmut Newton, Annie Leibovitz, David LaChapelle, and Thierry Le Gouès. Released each year to highlight the culture of coffee, the calendar has sparked pop-up exhibitions all over the world.
“[It was important] to develop our awareness and to create a perfect expression for our coffee brand and…one of the most strategic places to express our capability to talk about product, but in a different way,” said Francesca Lavazza. “I was always fueled by creativity and future innovation.”