Lavazza’s 2023 calendar and book focus on coffee and camaraderie - GulfToday

Lavazza’s 2023 calendar and book focus on coffee and camaraderie

Lavazza 2

Coffee - brewed for friends, sipped for pleasure and enjoyed by all.

Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

Lavazza, one of the leading players on the global coffee scene founded in Turin in 1895 and owned by the Lavazza family for four generations, recently announced the latest version of its annual calendar “YES! we’re OPEN”, as well as a book by Fabio Novembre of the same title. The images in the calendar have been composed by ace American photographer Alex Prager and both works try to unearth the beauty of humanity that rediscovers its vitality and curiosity. The theme of the calendar is brought out in a lounge/cafe setting, reminding us that humanity cannot be labelled and categorised, and that it’s only through mutual respect that we can share the joy of an unexpected meeting, a stranger’s smile and be a part of the world’s theatre of inexhaustible wonders.

Following the pandemic, it is Lavazza’s way “of inviting everyone to be open and see the differences between us as a valuable resource that enriches all.” “With this new art project,” says Lavazza Group board member Francesca Lavazza, “Lavazza intends to convey important messages about diversity and inclusion; it does so by starting out from its own origins and base, coffee, which has always been a byword for sociality, like the countless places that serve it. “Over the last ten years, the calendar has become a sort of manifesto for us, in which we use art as a means of focusing on things we feel deeply about and are in line with the company’s vision and commitments”.

She speaks more to Gulf Today

Why did you choose Alex Prager as the visual artist for the calendar?

From the very beginning, Lavazza entrusted the creation of its calendar to outstanding internationally renowned photographers, great masters of the art, of the calibre of Helmut Newton, Steve McCurry, David LaChapelle, Annie Leibovitz and Emmanuel Lubezki. The 2023 Calendar project has been signed by the talent of photographer and director Alex Prager, who has given voice to the important concept “YES! we’re OPEN” in her unique style. She has been able to reveal the emotions and anxieties harboured in every individual through highly evocative scenes, deliberately lacking in precise temporal references. Her artful mixing of different apparel, styles, decor details and settings, creates an effect of ambiguity that heightens the internal tension of the images. In Prager’s 12 photographs – outstanding in their care of detail – humanity is valued in its variety and individuality: sharing the same emotions, people are profoundly different, albeit interconnected.

Lavazza 1  The Lavazza calendar projects the unique value of every individual.

“YES! we’re OPEN” - can you elaborate on what this means?

Inspired by the sign on the door of cafes all over the world, the 2023 Lavazza calendar’s title “YES! we’re OPEN” is a neighbourly invitation to come in and enjoy an experience of pleasure and conviviality - a message of inclusion, respect, and open-mindedness.

As a place where the world’s cultures and identities can meet, there’s nothing quite like a coffee bar: in the 2023 calendar project, the bar becomes real and metaphorical at the same time, with Alex Prager studying the uniqueness of individuals to highlight their value, thus embracing the theme of our common humanity and celebrating our differences - concepts that animate Lavazza’s vision and are so central to our world today.

What are the subjects the Lavazza calendar addresses?

Lavazza believes in the idea of “positive and sustainable” art in two senses: responsible art, not for its own sake, but capable of raising awareness in the people it addresses, inspiring them and persuading them to adopt sustainable behaviours, and art as a forum on issues of social, environmental and economic sustainability, in which intellectuals in different fields can pool their expertise with the common objective of focusing on the search for universal human values and behaviours that protect nature.

  The Lavazza calendar embraces the theme of our common humanity.

The 2023 edition is a new chapter in the story of sustainability written by the calendar over the last ten years. It takes up the story of the last two editions, namely, The New Humanity (2021), by 13 world-famous photographers, and I Can Change The World (2022), by Emmanuel Lubezki, one of the world’s top cinematographers.

Why did Lavazza focus on youth? Any specific reason not to feature the older generation?

“YES! we’re OPEN” is an art project that aims to be an instrument of change, addressing a broad audience that includes older and younger generations alike. With this perspective in mind, most attention is naturally placed on younger generations; they are the key protagonists of our future society and raising awareness on crucial issues today is the first step to make a change for our future. 

Though coffee originated in Ethiopia, it has strong links with Arabia. Why doesn’t the Arab world fit in the calendar?

Coffee has ancient roots: its heritage can be traced back centuries to the Ethiopian plateau. Coffee soon reached the Arabian Peninsula, and this marked the beginning of a journey that would bring coffee beans across the globe. By the 15th century, coffee was being grown in the Yemeni district of Arabia – strongly bonding with the Arabic culture. Africa was the main protagonist of the 2015 Lavazza calendar, “The Earth Defenders”, with Steve McCurry paying tribute to the continent, to its people with their great dignity, tradition and history. As additional evidence, the 2023 edition has paired with the launch of Fabio Novembre’s book “YES! we’re OPEN”, a round-the-world trip, focusing on the values that have always guided the company.

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