Article: The Bubble cup
The Bubble cup
Buried in my sofa, under a blanket, on a rainy, grey winter day, I was sipping a delicious hot chocolate from a cup nested in the palm of my hands to warm them.
What if I could have a cup that sat perfectly within the palm of my hands? Something that would make my hands feel my drink as much as my mouth. The bubble cup was born. I then began to sketch a spherical cup, deliberately without a handle, to which I added two holes: one to pour in your drink, and the other to sip it gently through a straw.
It was at the very beginning of my exchanges with manufactures in Limoges. Several had not been cooperative and had shied away from the technical difficulties of my pieces. I then made some drawings and 3D designs which I sent with a beating heart to Serge, technical director at Artoria Limoges. Will he validate them? Or laugh out loud and tell me that my design is completely crazy?
To my good surprise, the sketches were considered, but Serge deemed the project complex. Indeed, the main risk in making this cup was its probable sagging during cooking. During high-temperature cooking (up to 1400 °C), a porcelain piece loses about 14% of its volume and can collapse if its shape is not cylindrical enough.
Serge then suggested to make a support to prevent sagging during cooking; a process that significantly increases the cost of manufacture and the ecological impact, because the support is only used once for each part before being thrown away.
Using a support also prevents enamelling the entire outside of the cup (since it touches the support). And no enamelling means no colour or glossy finish.
Regarding the exterior enamelling, the initial prototypes quickly helped me realise that the white bisque finish was ultimately more suited to the product because it offers a silky feel. I nevertheless had to enamel the inside of the cup for better cleaning.
Finally, to offer an easy-to-use product, I decided to add a straw (for sipping) and a funnel to pour your drink into the cup, without losing a drop. Since I wanted stainless steel straw and funnel, I first considered having them made by my metal turning partner, but it tripled the costs. So I turned to off-the-shelf products, on which I make no profit. The bubble cup was now finished.
With this cup, I genuinely hope you will be able to enjoy sipping your hot drinks in the palm of your hands, on a rainy, grey winter day.