3D-Printed from food-grade silicone, Reusable is a collapsable, pocket-friendly cup you can carry anywhere

Recycle and Reuse have become the buzzwords today. Most materials – single-use plastic excluded – are being recycled, and some plastic items such as bottles are reused to restrict them from reaching the landfills. Plastic pollution is therefore a big menace globally that designers are trying to solve with potentially innovative ideas. In that league we came across the Reusable: a collapsable, reusable cup that is made from food-grade material and fits right in your pocket so you can carry it wherever your routine takes you.

Disposable paper cups have been around for a long time now. Not essentially made with the purpose of being reused, such cups have to reach the landfills after one time use. All right, some of these to-go cups are recyclable, but some paper cups contain a plastic or wax coating – to prevent leaks – rending their unrecyclable. This is where a solution like the Reusable makes a lot of sense, not essentially because it can be recycled at the end of life, but since it can be reused a multitude of times before it can be retired from the lifecycle.

Designer: Kalina Gotseva

The brainchild of British-designed Kalina Gotseva, the Reusable has been 3D printed from durable, food-grade silicone. Made in a unique twisted design, after thousands of iterations on paper and other materials, the Reusable is made collapsable, transforming the cup from a full-sized option to a compact form factor that allows it to fit in the pocket.

Making a silicone cup with all the intricacies to make it reusable, the cup is a direct benefit product for millions of tea and coffee drinkers around the world, whose day wouldn’t start with the pipping hot beverage picked from the driveway in a throwaway one time use cup. This scenario could change with the benefit of Reusable which you can flip out of your pocket and have your drink served to you in it.

With the foldable and reusable design, the question of safety and convenience does arise in the mind. Gotseva has taken care of every detail, starting with making the entire foldable design self-contained. For that, the designer ensured that the body of the cup folds down flat and it can then fit securely in its cap to remain intact and dust-free in your pocket/bag. The protective cap is not just the Reusable’s case, in fact it has a tested push-and-pull slider on the drinking hole, which offers leak-proof convenience, so you can carry and drink your beverage safely, at your convenience.

The Reusable despite all the nifty features has sleek aesthetics paired with an ergonomic grip and three interesting color choices to pick a cup that matches your style. Created from BPA-free silicone, the cups are colored – with food-safe options – during the injection molding process. These are available in dark blue, light aquamarine, and vibrant orange colors to choose from. I don’t know about you, but I’m waiting for the Reusable to hit the market. My pick is orange, what’s yours?

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Odd drinking cup was designed to work in zero-gravity space without a straw

Hollywood has romanticized the idea of living in space or on other planets, but our current technologies have yet to catch up to the future painted by science fiction. Never mind the risks of blasting off into space, living on a space station can be extremely challenging, especially in the absence of gravity. Zero-G, as it is often called, can be fun once in a while and in short bursts, but having to constantly live in that environment turns activities we consider normal and mundane into an exercise in patience. The simple act of drinking, for example, requires sipping from a straw all the time, not exactly the most comfortable method for enjoying precious Earth liquids in space. That’s the problem that this space cup solves, but it accomplishes this impressive feat by taking on a shape that is almost literally out of this world.

Designer: Donald Pettit, Mark Weislogel

It’s only logical that liquids wouldn’t stay still inside a cup without the power of gravity, which is why drinks in space are taken from pouches with straws attached to them. It’s a simple and practical solution that makes drinking feel more like a mechanical act of survival than something that is enjoyed and treasured like those on Earth. NASA researcher Mark Weislogel and NASA astronaut Donald Pettit worked together, the former on Earth, the other on the International Space Station, to come up with a design that brings back the comforting experience of drinking normally from a cup.

The secret behind this “zero gravity coffee cup” is twofold. One is the special design where the cup has sharp crevices where two edges meet. The other is the way liquid behaves when placed in such a receptacle in zero gravity. The liquid is naturally drawn to those narrow spaces following the principle of capillary channel flow and, as if by magic, actually sticks to those edges without spilling out.

Owning the title of being the first cup that was actually designed in space, this zero-gravity drinkware’s first form was actually just a sheet of Mylar taped together at the edges to form a teardrop-shaped container. Of course, such a design hardly counts as a comfortable cup to drink from, so a more refined 3D printed food-grade plastic cup was made on Earth. Another model, this time made from ceramic, was later developed and became the first patented product invented outside of our planet.

The space cup’s unusual shape has raised a few eyebrows, and while it’s now available for sale on Earth from some sources, it doesn’t have the same magical capabilities demonstrated in zero-gravity space. Its alien design, however, does show how outside-the-box thinking will be necessary to have more “normal” experiences in space, and we have to expect that the first generation of what we consider to be ordinary products will take on sometimes unusual forms just so they can function in the same way.

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Space-inspired everyday products prepare us for a zero-gravity future

Many people these days dream about living on other planets or at least inside orbiting space stations, but few actually consider how very different life would be outside the Earth’s gravity. Of course, Hollywood tends to romanticize a lot of everyday life, but as astronauts will testify, living in space, even if just to reach the Moon or Mars, is no walk in the park. Even the simplest activities like drinking water can be awkward and disorienting in zero-g, at least if you consider using Earth-bound objects to do so. That’s why this trio of designs tries to reimagine some of the most mundane products we use in daily life and transform them into objects that are ready for our space-faring future.

Designers: Subin Kim, Jagyeong Baek, Jaeyeon Lee

Most of us understand that without gravity, things tend not to stay down, but few actually envision the ramifications of that fact. Products designed on Earth naturally presume an amount of stability, and the way they are handled or controlled is limited in the same manner. For example, a lot of everyday things only have handles on one side or work in a single direction, a presumption that doesn’t make much sense or even becomes counterproductive when the objects are floating in space.

Spatio is a collection of these everyday objects that have been redesigned with zero gravity in mind. Or to put it more simply, it doesn’t make presumptions on where and how it will function, making it work both on Earth, on Mars, or in the International Space Station. Aqua, for example, is a water bottle that replaces a traditional cup that has a single handle on one side only. In contrast, this bottle has four extrusions in cardinal directions that act as handles and a cover that lets you drink by sucking rather than sipping from the lip of a mug.

Sonus is a wireless speaker that really defies the traditional design of speakers. Inspired by the moon’s spherical shape, each of the “craters” on its surface pops up a tiny omnidirectional speaker when pressed. The more units that pop out, the louder it gets, acting is an unconventional form of volume control. The important difference is that you don’t have to shift or move the speaker to one side or the other just to reach those controls.

And then there’s Lumia, a star-shaped flashlight that can shine in any direction. Simply turning the central wheel switches the direction of the light so that it works regardless of how you’re holding it. While these products were designed with space living in mind, it’s not difficult to imagine them working just as well on Terra Firma, proving that truly accessible design benefits everyone everywhere, even if they’re living in outer space.

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This sustainable coffee cup can help your plants grow at the end of its own life

Some say that the world runs on coffee or that coffee is what actually makes it go round. Regardless of opinion, there’s no denying how much of the brown liquid is consumed every day, whether at home or especially from coffee shops like the famous (or infamous) Starbucks. When taking the latter into account, you can’t but help consider the amount of waste the coffee industry is producing simply from the cups alone, whether plastic or biodegradable paper. More conscientious coffee lovers have switched to reusable tumblers to help minimize their impact on the environment, but that is only half a step better than using plastic drinkware. This portable coffee cup, in contrast, takes the product’s lifecycle into account and puts it to good use even when you can no longer drink from it.

Designer: Alex Philpott (Beta Design Office)

Most coffee tumblers today are made from a combination of materials such as plastic, rubber, metal, and silicone. While some of these might be considered sustainable, the sum of the parts isn’t. These reusable drinking vessels naturally last a lot longer than the disposable variety served at many coffee shops, but they still end up polluting the land and seas at the end of their lives. Definitely not a good way to give back to the Earth that produces the coffee beans and water that fuel our modern lives.

That’s where the Earthmade Aromacup sets itself apart. Using Bamboo-O, an eco-friendly material made from bamboo fiber and plant starch, these travel coffee cups offer a significantly more sustainable option than typical silicone or thermal tumblers. More than just the materials and processes, however, the drinkware’s life continues even after it is no longer usable, at least not by humans. It can be easily used as compost material at home, contributing to the healthy growth of plants that, in turn, could nourish our food or clean up the air at the very least.

Beyond its sustainability, however, the Earthmade Aromacup also offers practical features matched with a clean aesthetic. A user-friendly keyhole locking mechanism makes it safe to bring your coffee or any favorite drink with you on the go, while easy disassembly makes it trivial to keep the cup clean and hygienic all the time. The cup’s soft body and ribbed texture offer a comfortable and safe grip when you need to take a sip anywhere.

The choice of single pastel colors, applied with food-safe coloring via a sustainable injection moulding process, visually sets it apart from most travel cups. At the same time, it appeals to the minimalist aesthetic that continues to trend, making these cups an attractive alternative to common, mass-produced coffee tumblers that also let owners feel good about their contribution to the Earth’s health every time they take a sip.

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An incredibly cute cup warmer that heats your drink and charges your smartphone is the new winter essential

Power banks have become a must-have accessory for their portability and convenience to juice up your mobile device on the go. Now taking a leaf out of that book, a designer has visioned a desktop appliance, which is functionally a cool mug warmer (to keep the beverage inside at a drinkable temperature) and comes with a USB slot to charge your phone or a smartwatch like a power bank!

There is nothing that meets the pleasure of a steaming hot coffee or tea while working. You get an extra kick to stay productive for a few more hours. However, there are times when you tend to forget and that hot beverage is left to become a cold brew sitting on the table. This is where a cup warmer like the one conceptualized by designer Dadaism J comes into the equation. The functionality of this cup warmer is to keep your compatible cup heated from the bottom to ensure the beverage inside remains at a particular temperature. This ensures you don’t have to sip on cold brew when your mug should have had a piping hot beverage. When I came across this cup warmer, I did a little search and found that this domain is not saturated at the moment, not many recognizable brand names have entered the category, meaning there is time and requirement for innovation and this cup warmer with charging functionality does deserve to see the light of day.

This I believe for a fact because the mug warmers currently available on the market come with an induction plate to place your mug. It aims to maintain a specific temperature of the beverage for you. Dadaism’s design just betters on the idea with the inclusion of a USB port on the front, which can be used to charge a mobile device simultaneously. There is also a small digital display on this colorful mug charger – it’s designed in three lovely colors – that shows you the temperature at which your beverage is being heated. Presumably, the cup warmer with a charging function also has an adjustable timer and auto shut off, which is common in the cup warmers already on the market.

While this cup warmer is primarily designed for your workstation, it has to connect to an electric socket for power. Given the niche functionality, this could also be useful in the outdoors to heat your mug of water or coffee at a camp per se, and when required also juice up your phone so you can remain connected even when you’re in areas off the grid. For this, the cup warmer will need to be battery-powered or even solar-powered; hope Dadaism would consider my suggestion for the prototype!

Designer: Dadaism J

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Meet the hug cup, an evolution of the traditional tableware that allows you to easily hold your warm mug on those chilly days!

Hug Cup is an innovative reinterpretation of the traditional ceramic mug, replacing the conventional side handle with a central grip tunnel that serves as an internal handle for those living with joint pain or osteoarthritis.

Kitchen cups and mugs have been endlessly reimagined through design over the years. The cup’s simple form makes room for innovative design across industries, from ceramic to inclusive reinterpretations. Designer and ceramic artist, Eszter Imre offered their own take on the conventional ceramic mug, casting a center finger tunnel that makes holding the cup feel like you’re hugging warm tea and makes holding the mug easier for those who struggle with holding a mug’s traditional side handle.

Imre’s Hug Cup was created to drill home the designer’s belief that, “we give special attention to things we use in our everyday life. We like to have a personal relation to the objects we touch closely, such as a cup.”

The internal handle is a unique take on the mug’s traditional side handle, allowing users to securely grip Hug Cup while feeling the warmth of the liquid contents inside. Describing the mug in their own words, Imre states, “The whole cup creates an intimate tunnel through the cup itself for your finger, you may enjoy the heat of your beverage without burning your palm.”

While Hug Cup’s innovative handle is playful, it is also a solution-based design. For those living with joint pain, more specifically osteoarthritis, gripping mugs is a feat on its own. The central tunnel on Hug Cup allows users to hold onto the mug without altering the way their hands naturally fall. By simply sliding your thumb through the internal handle, half the battle is won. In creating Hug Cup, Imre notes, “It’s a fun, engaging object that wouldn’t make you feel like an outcast from society due to your special needs.”

Designer: Eszter Imre

This award-winning to-go coffee cup comes with its own integrated origami lid!

The LIDfree is less of a redesign and more of a re-imagination of lids themselves. A sustainable improvement on plastic lids would probably be to design lids that are made out of paper instead… but to redesign a cup in a way that it doesn’t need a lid? That’s truly something worth marveling. Meet the LIDfree, a to-go paper cup that comes with its own fold-in lid. While the lid isn’t 100% spill-proof (not even the plastic ones are), it does a few key things really well.

A. Preventing spillage.
B. Merging of two products (cup and lid) into one.
C. Giving you a central channel to put your straw (and even giving you the option to not use one)
and finally, D. replacing a wasteful plastic part with a recyclable paper one.

The LIDfree cup features a nifty folding rim that collapses inwards to shut the cup. While it leaves a central hole open, the design still, for the most part, remains spill-proof as the hole remains at an elevated position when the cup is lying on its side. Moreover, the central hole is perfect for inserting straws of any width (hopefully eco-friendly ones!) as the origami elements expand and contract to the diameter of the straw. Drinking from the cup is as simple as opening the rim outwards to turn it into a regular cup, and when opened, the LIDfree cup remains stackable, ensuring that the design satisfies all needs, from that of the barista to the consumer, to finally the environment!

The LIDfree Cup is a winner of the Golden Pin Design Award for the year 2020.

Designers: Chia-Chun Chuang & Pei-Chun Hsueh

A coffee cup with a color-guide to help you make the right coffee every time!

MyCuppa makes the question “How do you like your coffee?” a little easier to answer! The cup, which comes with its own color-matching guide along the rim, helps you make consistent coffee every time by allowing you to visually judge the coffee’s strength. The color guide ranges from milky beige (which incidentally is how I like my coffee) to a strong, dark black. Just pour your coffee in and keep adding milk or creamer till you get the color your heart and taste-buds desire. There’s even a color-guide version for tea-drinkers, so you can calibrate your beverage’s intensi-tea!

Designed by the fun-loving folk at SuckUK, the ceramic mug comes in a single standard size, and is microwave-safe and dishwasher friendly. Makes a perfect stocking-stuffer for any coffee-craver or a tea-vangelist!

Designer: SuckUK Design Team

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Circular Design 101: A coffee cup made from recycled coffee husks!

The Huskeecup is the coffee equivalent of drinking a coconut cocktail out of a coconut… No, seriously! Each Huskeecup is, in fact, made from recycled coffee husks combined with a binding agent and molded into a reusable cup that’s impact-resistant, non-toxic, dishwasher-friendly, and uniquely pleasing to look at or even smell!

An estimate of 600 billion disposable coffee cups are produced worldwide each year, 99.75% of which are dumped in a landfill or the oceans without being recycled. What the Huskeecup does is solve that problem, while also looking at the humble coffee bean as a raw material. The fine folk at Huskee gather coffee husks discarded in the roasting process, and pulverize them before binding them together with a biopolymer and finally forming them into cups. Designed to be reused, the cups can either be purchased by coffee aficionados to use at home, or by cafés to serve coffee to their patrons. The Huskeecups come in a variety of styles and sizes, including an adorable set of 6oz espresso cups with saucers to match, or 8oz and 12oz travel mugs that come with sipper-lids made from the same coffee-husk material.

Apart from being eco-friendly, sustainable, and reusable, the Huskeecups are really designed to pair well with the coffee-drinking ritual. The cups come with a textured outer surface that’s comfortable to hold, while the material itself keeps your coffee hotter for longer. The cups are also far more durable than ones made from ceramic or glass, and are BPA-free and non-toxic, unlike plastic tumblers or plastic-lined paper glasses. Moreover, old cups that are broken or discarded can be repurposed into new ones, creating a closed-loop that ensures each cup has the potential to be recycled without generating waste, so you can drink your coffee guilt-free!

Designer: Huskee

I Love Spreadsheets Mug Is for Digital Masochists

When I worked in the corporate world, I think my time was equally split between sitting in mindless, unnecessary meetings and staring at massive spreadsheets. While I consider myself to now be an expert at manipulating PivotTables and complex Excel macros, I by no means love spreadsheets. It’s just something I learned in order to get my job done. But I’m sure there are some people out there who see something like:


…they get all warm and fuzzy inside. This coffee mug is for those people.

Simply pour your favorite hot beverage into the I Love Spreadsheets mug and it’ll calculate your undying love for endless grids of data – at least up to 65536 rows and columns. Whether you cut your teeth on Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, or even good old Lotus 1-2-3, this mug is perfect for you. I’m dating myself, but the first spreadsheet I ever used was VisiCalc on an Apple II. Good times. No AutoSum or Conditional Formatting back then. We did our spreadsheets the old fashioned way!

This mug is the perfect gift formula for the accountant or business person on your shopping list. You can grab one over at Firebox for just $9.99, though according to the calculations on my spreadsheet, you’ll pay a bit more for it if you need it shipped to the U.S. from the U.K., which is where Firebox is based.