illy worldwide

retail, furniture, display
2012 – 2018

VARIOUS locations

photo by marco ravo

The collaboration between Metroarea and the prestigious Illy coffee brand began years ago and continues today, with a series of activities of study, research and prototyping of specifically developed work and sales areas.

1. Illyteca

Illyteca is the prototype of a colorful series of new Illy stores to be realized all over the world.
The concept was developed by Giulio Paladini and Tazio di Pretoro of the Metroarea studio in Trieste and was then built in a historic building in the center of Trieste, and then replicated in Brescia, in a downtown street.

Illyteca, Piazza Unità, Trieste

Illyteca is designed to unify in a single shop the five brands owned by Illy: Illy coffee, Domori chocolate, Dammann Freres tea, Agrimontana jam and bakery products, Mastrojanni wine. Each brand is represented through its color in a wooden box inspired by transport boxes. The boxes are completely movable and on the backside have the relative fire-print logo of the brand, so they can be turned in their shelves. This feature allows to modify the quantity of display of the single brands that is based on seasonal needs.

Illyteca, Piazza Unità, Trieste

At the centre of the shop, the walk-around counter is a stacking of boxes that can be changed and moved to host special offer products, or make room for presentation or small teaching courses of the University of Coffee of Trieste. During these occasions the boxes can be used as seats.

All the boxes are singularly hand varnished inside and the glossy finish reflects the products displayed. This precious feeling is enhanced by a led strip hidden in a cut in the top front of the box while all cables are hidden and can be unplugged easily during the moving.

Illyteca, Brescia

The boutique/jewelry feeling is contrasted by the naturality of the materials: solid oak wood for the outside of the boxes, pure black granite for the counter tops, blackboard for the walls have been introduced to recall the natural food products displayed.

The blackboard walls are used to display all kind of additional information about the products, like characteristics, place of origin or special offers, but at the same time they are suitable for seasonal decorations and drawings.

Illyteca, Brescia

In a smaller room of the Illyteca there is a food laboratory, where clients can buy fresh products, all prepared with ingredients sold in the adjacent shop, like chocolate cakes or ice cream made with Domori chocolate and Illy coffee among others. The lab is fitted with built-in chocolate fountains, coffee machines, tea boilers and refrigerators.

2. IllySHOP

After Illyteca’s positive experience, the studio was asked to evolve the concept for a single-brand store, Illyshop. The theme was to illustrate the quality of the Illy production and to arrange the complexity and completeness of Illy’s offers. On the basis of the arguments already discussed for Illyteca, an ad hoc display was studied for each coffee system offered by illy, with an eye for Iperespresso, Illy’s flagship.

Illyshop, Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Milano

The first store in this long series was made in Corso Vittorio Emanuele in Milan and the second in Piazza di Spagna in Rome. Numerous commercial spaces followed in Florence, Paris, Madrid, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Illyshop, Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Milano

Illyshop, Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Milano

Illyshop, Piazza di Spagna, Roma


A spectacular feature of these spaces, the “Chandelier” is a sculpture shaped like a small cup made of hundreds of Illy silver cups and designed by Metroarea for the occasion.


4. totem

At the same time, Metroarea is in charge of creating a series of display elements for hundreds of bars in Italy. Not finding the standard dimensions, the study proposes a modular element, a “Totem” that flanked to other Totems, can give life to multiple configurations with infinite shapes and sizes.

Illytotem, different configurations, (basic element in the middle)

The most innovative idea is that the Totem is reusable, thus reducing waste with a great advantage for the environment, a theme on which Illy is very sensitive. The concept developed is inspired by a stack of transport boxes placed in a disorderly way on top of each other, which Metroarea had already developed for Illyteca Brescia.



In the meanwhile, Metroarea worked on a project for Illy for a series of furniture dedicated to B2B (business to business) activities. After a long study of needs and case studies, Metroarea imagined a series of furniture at different scales for service and sales activities in private and public areas.

The extremely complete series includes fixed furniture, on wheels, modular, with fridge, drawers and accessories very different from each other, but always faithful to a single design evolved from the previous concepts, and with the most varied possibility of customization, to be adapted to any situation.


Illypro, cabinet prototype and ergonomics study



More recently Metroarea has joined Illy in the design service dedicated to customers. Thanks to the experience gained both with Illy and the design of several bars and restaurants, Metroarea is an ideal partner able to offer a dedicated and aware design service for every situation.

Millennium Cafè, Grand Millennium Hotel, Abu Dhabi, Emirati Arabi

Coffee shop Union Square, San Francisco, USA

Poseidon Cafè, Atlantis Hotel, Dubai, Emirati Arabi

Galleria, Jeddah, Arabia Saudita

Galleria, Jeddah, Arabia Saudita