Carrying forward the institutional partnership embarked on with Triennale Milano in 2019, the company is on this occasion the event’s Main Partner and has also sponsored the creation of Under a Coffee Tree, an installation by Burkina Faso-born architect Francis Kéré that symbolises universal human values and the importance of sustainability, which will be on display from July 15, at the entrance to the Triennale coffee shop (renovated in April).
Francis Kéré was recently awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize, considered the “Nobel for architecture”, thus joining the distinguished ranks of architects like Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry and Renzo Piano. From Burkina Faso, Kéré is the first African architect to win the Prize.
For the XXIII International Exhibition of Triennale Milano, Francis Kéré curated two installations showcasing a contemporary design language in conversation with vernacular architecture of West Africa. He also designed the seating for the Triennale’s communal spaces. Under a Coffee Tree, his installation sponsored by Lavazza, is made entirely of wood and imagining a coffee plant as a place where people can meet in the shade.
Just as people in West Africa meet in the shade of trees that create public spaces modelled by the trajectory of the sun, so the habit of meeting for a coffee has become a daily ritual all over the world, favouring dialogue and social exchange.
The work also engages with all the senses by inviting the audience to stop and reflect on the theme of “Unknown Unkowns”, the central theme of the XXIII International Exhibition of Triennale Milano, which explores the mysteries of the known world and “what we don’t know we don’t know”. Kéré’s Under a Coffee Tree will enable visitors to pause and share their thoughts on the big questions posed by the other exhibition elements.
Francesca Lavazza, Group board member, said, “We are proud to continue our collaboration with Triennale Milano, one of the world’s leading cultural organisations, with which we share a belief in the value of positive art that strives to engage people in efforts to bring about sustainable change. With immediacy and power, Kéré’s work speaks of the social role that the ritual of coffee has always played, one that creates moments of encounter and dialogue between people, fostering inclusion and sharing between different cultures.”