If Italy’s deep-rooted café culture and exquisite, inky espresso weren’t enough reason to visit, here’s one more: a museum dedicated to all things coffee has opened in Turin.
The Lavazza Museum, opened this summer, is the latest venture from this veteran Italian company — founded in 1895 by a mustachioed grocer named Luigi, and now the market leader in Italy and one of the largest coffee companies in the world. The project looks at coffee in its many forms: as a crop, as a ritual, as a commodity, and even as a vehicle for innovation in everything from cuisine to design to branding.
Lavazza tapped some big names to execute its vision: Ralph Appelbaum, the experience designer behind the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, planned the layout in collaboration with lighting designer Michael Grubb Studio. The resulting galleries take an interactive — and occasionally, fanciful — stroll through the world of espresso.
The immersive, multimedia installations include a walk through a simulated coffee plantation and plenty of opportunities for coffee-themed photography. Also on display: antique and vintage espresso machines, information about the chemical structure of coffee, and some irreverent Lavazza posters and ads. But what kind of coffee museum would this be with out a free sample? At the end of the tour, visitors can try one classic drink (espresso, drip) and something new, like a coffee-infused cocktail.
There is also much to learn about Lavazza’s brand legacy in Italy and beyond. Alessandra Bianco, the company’s chief public relations officer, told Travel + Leisure that exhibits will include vintage photographs, marketing campaigns, and other materials pulled from the company’s 8,500-document archive of coffee history.
The museum is part of a vast urban redevelopment project, anchored by Lavazza’s new Cino Zucchi-designed headquarter campus. In a statement to Wallpaper, the architect said, “the new Lavazza campus represents a new way of addressing the relationship between a private company and the city it is based in, between a building and the public space that surrounds it.”
The complex — located in a historically industrial, fast-gentrifying part of one of Italy’s more industrial cities — used to be a power plant. According to Bianco, Lavazza hopes the new campus to invigorate the neighborhood, and not just the company: “You can create a new energy in a place that is close to the city center, but is also part of the periphery.”
For Bianco, the development’s name — Nuvola Lavazza, or “Lavazza Cloud” — reflects a desire for the space to be something permeable and open. The $140 million project spans seven acres of the neighborhood, and the goal is to invite the public in to the company’s campus and change the way employees spend their time outside the office. Along with the museum, Lavazza has funded the construction of a large, open piazza, and two restaurants. The more upscale spot, Condividere (“to share” in Italian), was developed by Ferran Adrià and will be helmed by a young, respected Italian chef, Federico Zanasi.
Turin may not be on Italy’s Vesuvius-to-Venice tourist circuit, but this dynamic city has a lot to offer. It is one of Italy’s industrial and economic powerhouses, home to the headquarters of some of the country’s most iconic brands: Fiat, Caffarel, and Martini & Rossi. It was the first capital of modern Italy, and today it’s known as Italy’s chocolate capital — not an uncontested title. Gianduia, a hazelnut-flavored chocolate cream, is the local confection of choice.
And its new hyper-caffeinated museum is just one of many reasons to visit. Turin is also home to a vast Egyptian Museum; a historic Fiat factory with a rooftop test track; an automobile museum that takes a look at the country’s long history of industry, design, and racing prowess; and the famed Shroud of Turin, believed to be the cloth Jesus was buried in. The up-and-coming San Salvario area is packed with bars and nightlife — and Nuvola Lavazza, with its caffeinated fuel options perfect before a night of partying, is just a short drive away.
Lavazza Museum Website
(From Travel + Leisure)