Date of Award


Document Type

MA Project - Restricted Access (SIA Only)

Project Type

MA Project - Business Plan

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Contemporary Art

First Advisor

Magnus Resch


A shared feature that seems to describe 21st century’s global markets is that gatekeepers are disappearing. Medical prescriptions are obtained on the internet, books are self-published, grocery is ordered online and delivered to our houses. As a result, physical stores are disappearing; the artworld is no exception: “art stores”, or at least the conventional and physical galleries, are destinated to be a distant memory. In fact, more and more, art is bought online and in a matter of minutes. However, there is still something that attract people to physical spaces: experience. Though, this is not an idea that contemporary galleries seem to understand. In fact, the reason why only names like Gagosian, Hauser&Wirth or David Zwirner can stay afloat in the sinking boat of the art market is that today galleries are unexciting white boxes where people are going not to buy art but only to see it for free.

To find a solution, it is necessary to look at the enormous transformation that is happening in the retail sector; as Doug Stephens, founder of The Retail Prophet, says “stores can’t be just about distributing products. They need to be about distributing experiences: fewer stores, more stories.” This means that it is fundamental to think outside the “white box”, innovate the current model and replace it with a new version, responding to the changes occurring in our society as well as to the needs of the global market. Galleries must become places where stories are told, and experiences are created. Furthermore, conventional galleries and museums must become places where, while still maintain an educational role, stimulating knowledge and intelligence, they also generate interaction.

The concept is a pop-up museum called “The Museum of Coffee”, which will be dedicated to one of the most famous beverages in the world: coffee; however, at the same time, it will be a company museum for the Italian coffee brand Illy. The project will be an exciting journey in which the history of the beverage will intertwin with the story of the company Illy, with its Italian authenticity and its famous “search for the perfect coffee”. The Museum will be in the cities of New York and Milan; indeed, the latter is now considered the most vibrant Italian city for Art, Design and Finance. The Museum will propose immersive experiences for the visitors: the design will break away from the outdated “white box”, making it an interactive place, which requires the visitor’s active presence and creativity. Furthermore, the Museum will be a place for social connection and learning, aiming to build communities and transforming the way in which people experience art in two major cities.