Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Artsy Wednesday: Illy's Espresso Home

This article is a few months old, and the home is no longer on display in New York, but it's cool nonetheless.

The Italian coffee company, Illy, has sponsored artist and architect Adam Kalkin's second "Push Button House" - a small (440 square foot) home that opens to five rooms at the push of a button. Kalkin apparently uses similar technology in the design of apartment buildings, but the real twist of the display house is that it's made from a recycled shipping container.

What makes this about food is the Illy sponsorship, and actually that's also what makes the story interesting to me. Oh, I think the idea of the house is cool, though more theoretically so than realistically.

But given my experience in the glamorous and dramatic world of marketing, I'm pleasantly surprised to hear of Illy's involvement. It's a cool association for the brand. Obviously, the company gets some exposure (and when the house is on display, there's a limited edition espresso machine inside that dispenses cups - aka "free samples"). But this is still not an obvious sponsorship. It's to Illy's credit that their management recognized the coolness of this opportunity and how nicely it could align with the brand.

Whew. It's rare that I get so marketingy before 9 am. With good reason! Now I need to spend at least 45 minutes reading pop culture blogs or some sort of esoteric art history theory to cleanse away this morning dose of business school...

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