Caffeine & Culture: Galleria Illy To Make China Debut In Beijing

Italian Roaster Opened Similar Pop-Ups In New York, Milan, Trieste, Berlin

Galleria illy Beijing will launch on October 26

Continuing its worldwide march, which previously hit New York, Milan, Trieste, Berlin and London, Galleria illy — a pop-up on steroids that hosts exhibitions, talks and performances by some of the world’s leading artists, writers and cultural curators — is set to make its China debut in Beijing on October 26. Launching at Beijing’s Parkview Green mall (芳草地购物中心), which will also host the inaugural mainland China location of H&M’s Collection of Style (COS) this fall, Galleria illy Beijing is the nearly 80-year-old coffee roaster’s latest overture to the Chinese market. Looking to combat the growing dominance of American rival Starbucks — which currently operates more than 500 stores throughout China — illy has spent the last several years in China building its brand via a savvy expansion scheme, which prioritized five-star hotels and upscale restaurants over massive cafe construction or mid-range product lines. Galleria illy Beijing, which will run for nearly six weeks, is its latest attempt to position itself as a high-end, sophisticated competitor to the more mass-market Starbucks.

Chandelier up at Parkview Green in advance of Galleria illy launch in October (Image: Fashion Trend Digest)

As with other Galleria illy locations around the world, the Parkview Green iteration will center around the signature coffee mug chandelier, a two-ton, eight-meter tall assemblage of large-scale cups featuring designs by some of the world’s leading contemporary artists. According to Chinese-language media reports, the construction of the chandelier now hanging at Parkview Green in advance of the opening took 45 days. Partners for the Beijing gallery include Italian furniture brand Moroso, arts publishing house Charta, and Le Meridien. (Itself no stranger to art collaborations in China.)

illy’s decision to open its first Chinese Galleria illy in Beijing is no coincidence, as the city remains the country’s leading arts and culture hub. To localize the venue for the Chinese capital, illy has confirmed the participation of young Chinese artist Liu Wei (刘韡) and celebrated Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado. Beijing will also feature heavily in the new issue of the coffee roaster’s arts and culture publication, illywords, with work by young artists from Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) to be highlighted. In addition, illy will offer free classes and tastings via its Università del Caffè during the month-and-a-half run of Galleria illy Beijing.

Galleria illy Beijing
From October 26-December 2, 2012
Parkview Green Mall
9 Dongdaqiao Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
芳草地购物中心
地址:北京市朝阳区东大桥路9号 芳草地
Hours: 10:00am-10:00pm daily

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