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Illy Cafe in Push Button House (Lands in NY)



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Tuesday, 09 October 2007

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For some time, designers, architects and builders all over the world
have tinkered with the idea of turning excess standard shipping
containers into living quarters. Some of the incarnations of the lowly
metal box are downright chic, including artist-architect Adam Kalkin’s Quik House for which he apparently has more orders than he can handle.

But
these metal containers have also drawn the attention of some leading
brands that have started to use the eye-popping ideas to full
advantage. Holiday shoppers milling about the Time Warner Center in New
York will have a fabulous chance to experience one of these soon.
Between November 28 and December 29, 2007, they can rest, relax and sip
a perfect cup of illy espresso in one of Kalkin’s creations, the
temporary Push Button House cafe that the Trieste, Italy-based illycaffè will install there.

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The European premier of this concept by Alan Kalkin and illy took place
at the 52nd Venice Biennale where illy continues to partner with the
Fondazione La Biennale di Venezia by providing the visitors each year a
space to relax and enjoy their complimentary espresso. This was illy’s
fourth year of establishing the refreshment area at the Biennale but
the Push Button House version created an unprecedented buzz.

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With the push of a button, the house opens in 90 seconds like a flower
and transforms from a compact container into a fully furnished and
functional space with a kitchen, dining room, bathroom, bedroom, living
room and library. All materials used in the Biennale house were
recyclable or recycled. As Andrea Illy, chairman and CEO of illycaffe,
has been quoted as saying, illy was initially interested in Kalkin’s
idea as an examination of “home as one continuous mouldable surface, a
relief against which human activity would pop out.”

Kalkin’s
concepts have proven to be adaptable to many circumstances. His company
has developed container-unit projects for everything from
disaster-relief housing to luxury dwellings (pictured below), and for
promotional purposes such as the illy cafe. By Tuija Seipell.

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