Monday 17 June 2024
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Museum of Design Atlanta announces Passione Italiana: The Art of Espresso

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ATLANTA, U.S. – Museum of Design Atlanta welcomes Passione Italiana: The Art of Espresso, a new exhibition that will explore espresso machine design and technology, while examining the social, political and cultural movements fueled by coffee and cafés throughout history. Previously on display at Kerkrade in the Netherlands, Passione Italiana is developed by Cube Design Museum in collaboration with IMF Foundation and is curated by Elisabetta Pisu.

The Exhibition

On view Sunday, February 24 through Sunday, June 9, Passione Italiana will chronicle the evolution of the espresso machine and document its technology and industrial design developments. The exhibit will showcase espresso makers used in Italy during the mid-twentieth century—alongside inventive coffee sets and unique crockery—and traverse through the decades, highlighting the influence designers such as Aldo Rossi, Toyo Ito, Richard Sapper and Massimiliano Fuksas have had on classic and contemporary models. Italian coffee company, illycaffè, will provide freshly brewed espresso beverages for guests to enjoy before or after visiting the exhibition.

Appealing to both design lovers and coffee enthusiasts alike, the forthcoming exhibition will also survey the social and historical impact coffee and coffeehouses have had around the world, including the role of cafés as incubators in social justice movements and how they have helped fuel everything from literary and musical achievements to political revolutions.

“Many of us use coffee and coffeehouses to think deeply, make connections with others and jumpstart our imaginations,” says Laura Flusche, Executive Director at MODA. “Our vision in presenting this stunning exhibition is not only to trace the influence designers have had on espresso makers in cafe settings, as well as those used in the home, but also to spark the conversation surrounding coffee’s ability to connect. The show celebrates the ways in which cafes have harbored creative thinkers, revolutionary actions and social justice throughout history.”

In honor of Passione Italiana’s debut, MODA is hosting a special pre-opening event on Saturday, February 23 from 4-7 p.m. During the celebration, MODA members and guests are invited to experience the new exhibition and enjoy an Italian wine tasting from Sherlock’s Wine Shop, beer from Second Self Beer Company, Italian aperitivi from the Campari Group, light bites from Bellina Alimentari, gelato from Ciao Bella and a live performance by Atlanta cellist-composer OkCello, who will perform a score inspired by the exhibit. Registration is free with a donation of $25 or more to MODA.

The opening of Passione Italiana will also mark the launch of the Co.Lab, an experiential space within the gallery that’s inspired by the spirit of creativity fueled by coffee. The immersive environment is developed by MODA with some of Atlanta’s most creative entities to offer a center for making, thinking, talking and learning, and will feature expansive communal tables within an inviting shared space.


Beginning Saturday, February 23, the Co.Lab will present What is Your Story, a crowd-sourced storytelling installation organized by design firms Orange Sparkle Ball and nonprofit sister Spark Corps in collaboration with BooknBrunch, that provides a touching look at how untold stories, struggles and secrets can forge connections. The hands-on project will invite guests to anonymously inscribe their story in a used book on view at MODA and give visitors the opportunity to respond to these stories by sending a supportive message via postcard.

Visitors will be able to take part in programming on Thursday mornings (more details to come), presented by Constellations, a civic and socially based workspace aiming to make a positive difference in the world. Constellations Founder Gene Kansas says, “We’re happy and proud to partner with MODA on this exhibit. Their experiential approach to design and thoughtful programming are true benefits to members and guests and to our city. Then, of course, there’s coffee, we simply could not pass up the opportunity to drink up all that Passione Italiana: The Art of Espresso has to offer.”

Passione Italiana: The Art of Espresso was developed by the Netherlands’ Cube Design Museum in cooperation with IMF Foundation and is curated by Elisabetta Pisu. The exhibition features objects on loan from the the Alessi Museum and the private collections of Enrico Maltoni, Franco Balzarotti, Kent Bakke and Sarri. Additional content has been added by MODA with generous loans from Espresso Southeast. The exhibition design for MODA is by Susan Sanders. Passione Italiana is presented thanks to the generosity of the Fulton County Arts Council, City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, Power2Give, Creative Approach, John Portman & Associates, illycaffè, Bellina Alimentari, Interface, Orange Sparkle Ball, Spark Corps, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles and Constellations.


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