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Coffee: The Engine of Ideas



icona caffè


Taking its inspiration from the vast coffee plantations located at the edges of the tropical forests of Africa and Central America, this cluster’s architecture evokes the highest branches of the trees in the shade which the coffee plants grow, with the pavilions serving as a metaphor for these tree trunks.
The Coffee Cluster is characterized by warm and natural colors that change according to the changing light that filters through the roof, giving visitors the illusion of being in a real forest.
Curated by illycaffè, EXPO 2015’s official Coffee Partner, a company that brings to this project more than eighty years’ knowledge, experience, and personal contacts. Driving this initiative are illycaffè’s pursuit of excellence, teamed with their passion, their striving for innovation, and the will to achieve sustainable development.
Created in collaboration with the International Coffee Organization (ICO), this Cluster narrates the past, present, and future of coffee, focusing on three areas:
  • the product and its journey from bean to cup
  • the creativity, art and culture that have developed around the coffee-drinking ritual
  • the stories and traditions of the countries of coffee farmers and consumers
Scent of a dream: Sebastião Salgado
Started in 2002, when Sebastião Salgado and illy met, Scent of a dream is a journey through coffee growing countries, based on a shared common value: sustainable development, the fundamental principal by which the Trieste-based company is able to maintain its supreme quality.

Throughout his career, Salgado has managed to use his black and white pictures to celebrate the daily lives of those on the plantations, and the beauty of the terroir from which the precious bean is grown and harvested. The sequence of his images was constructed, shot by shot, in ten of the coffee producing countries.

Scent of a dream is also a book, curated by Lelia Wanick Salgado, published by Contrasto in Italy and sold inside the Coffee Cluster, where  the images of places, people and men that made it the greatest reportage ever produced on the world of coffee, are close to texts signed by Andrea Illy, Luis Sepulveda, Angela Vettese and of course, Sebastião Salgado.

The incredible Scent of a Dream images, besides Expo Milan 2015, will be presented to the public at large through an extensive tour that will touch, in 2015, Venice – at Fondazione Bevilacqua la Masa - to be then continued, in the upcoming three years, throughout United States and Asia.
Sebastiao Salgado bollo img

Sebastião Salgado

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Sebastião Salgado is one of the greatest contemporary photographers. He was born in 1944 in the state of Minas Gerais, in Brazil. Before starting his career in photography in 1973, he worked for the International Coffee Organization. He has published and exhibited numerous ambitious projects, which he has spent many years working on. These include: "Workers: Archaeology of the Industrial Age", "Migrations" and "Genesis", which have enjoyed massive international success. He has always been passionate about human rights and the environment, and in 1998 he founded the Instituto Terra, with his wife, Lélia Wanick. The aim of this organisation is to restore the ecosystem of the Atlantic Forest to its natural state, working in the area of the Doce River valley, between the states of Minas Gerais and Espìrito Santo in Brazil.
EXHIBITION CONTENT: Università Commerciale “Luigi Bocconi” / Chiara Mauri
Università del Caffè / illycaffè
CLUSTER MANAGER: Roberto Morelli
Università Commerciale “Luigi Bocconi” / Chiara Mauri
Università del Caffè / illycaffè
PROJECT COORDINATION: illycaffè CONCEPT AND EXHIBITION LAYOUT: Alessandro Colombo, Stefan Vieths, and Francesca Rapisarda
TOTAL AREA: 4,427 sqm
COMMON AREA: 3,000 sqm
EVENTS AREA: 122 sqm
The Cluster Structure

Curated by the Università del Caffè illy and Università Commerciale “Luigi Bocconi”, the exhibition covers one of the nine topics showcased by the Expo Clusters. This is a real journey from the sowing to the cup, subdivided into four thematic sections, which illustrate the path that transforms a coffee bean into one of the world’s most popular drinks. Information, video clips, scientific entertainers, guided tours (book your place in allow visitors to enjoy a unique experience that arouses all senses.

The exhibition starts off by telling us that coffee comes from a cherry and that its supply chain is a source of income for about 25 million families in over 80 producing countries. After following the coffee bean along its routes across the oceans, the visitor is conquered by the aromas released by coffee roasting and is subsequently treated to the tasting of a coffee cup, which gives a final, concrete touch to the experience.

UN's presence in the Coffee Cluster
In the UN Space located in the Coffee Cluster, one can discover all the stages of the coffee chain, with praticular emphasis placed on smallholders who produce 80% of the over 9 billion tonnes produced per year. 

The UN is present with 18 multimedia installations, easily recognizable by their giant blue spoons. These UN Spaces are located in various areas of the site along the itinerary dedicated to the theme “The Zero Hunger Challenge • United for a sustainable world”.
illy icona Partner cluster caffe

illycaffè / Official Coffee Partner

The pursuit of excellence, passion, innovation and orientation to the sustainable development of illycaffè are the engines of the initiative.

Our Shareholders

Official Global Partners

Expo Milano 2015 Supporting Initiatives