Otis Product Design Cups “Runneth Over” at the Huntington Library

Ten teams of Otis Product Design Sophomores presented their Huntington Library Garden Inspired Cups to large audience that included Jim Folsom, (Marge and Sherm Telleen Director of the Botanical Garden,) a staff of botanists, cultural curators, Gift Shop buyers, the San Marino League, Product Design Chair, Steve McAdam, and the faculty team. Fondly called, “The Horticupture Project,” each team studied one Huntington Library Garden and designed and mass produced a dishwasher safe, non-toxic, ergonomically comfortable cup for hot and cold beverages along with a beautiful package design which has a sustainable secondary use of being a retail display, a gift box and serves as a shipping container. Each cup was accompanied with a decorative sleeve to protect hand and a booklet with a narrative message and tips on using the cup for other purposes such as floral vase or vessel to hold things.

Otis Product Design graduates hold a unique role in the market place, as they are not only competent in computer generated 2D graphic design and 3-D CAD and printing, but they are also material informed designers, who learn how to make products out of wood, metal, clay, glass, fabric and fiber, plastic, resin, and just about every material imaginable. For the Huntington Library Cup Project, the students learned ceramic manufacturing techniques by making master models in plaster molds, slip casting, non-toxic glazes, kiln firing techniques, while experimenting with flexible materials and fabrics, sewing sleeves for their cups, and paper engineering and screen printing for their package designs.

Lead Product Design Faculty, Jason Burton, coordinated and guided a faculty team of material specialists: Jonathan Fidler (graphics and package design), Mikki Hunt (drawing), Noreen Roxbury (fiber and fabric arts), and Fatima Hoang (critical thinking). Ceramic/ Product Design Professor, Joan Takayama-Ogawa, observed, “The lowly cup is one of the hardest working vessels, least appreciated, and yet throughout history it has played a major role in our daily lives. The Otis Product Designers’ cups elevated this small undervalued object to a new attitude of appreciation.”

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