But what if your coffee came in an entirely organic kind of cup? That’s the vision of Jun Aizaki, the founder of New York-based design studio Crème Design. He and his team have created a prototype cup that’s made from a gourd grown inside a 3D-printed mold. And while the process to create the gourd cups, which he calls HyO-Cups, is time-intensive–taking a whopping five to six months–Aizaki hopes to one day mass-grow drinking receptacles, maybe even for coffee shops like Starbucks.
The finished cups are luminous, unique objects that are 100% organic and biodegradable. But it’s a long, tedious process to grow cups rather than manufacture them. Aizaki says it takes about a month for the plant to fruit, two to three weeks for the fruit to develop, and then once it’s finally grown large enough, it takes another two to three months of sitting in the sun for the gourd to dry enough that it can be used to drink out of. On top of that, gourds only grow during the summer in the New York area, dramatically limiting the team’s ability to prototype quickly. Because they’re so time-intensive to produce, they fall far short of the vision of one day replacing single-use cups in coffee shops and cafes. Still, Aizaki is determined to find a way of making the production process more efficient–and thus more scalable.
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