Cup Cube

High-performance studio microphones built in the UK


We won a competition to design and deliver a sculptural installation for UK Charity Hubbub on Bankside, London. The installation was situated at the Tate Modern and was open to the public for two weeks in January 2020.

Hubbub is a charity which explores innovative ways to share information around important sustainability issues. 3 billion paper cups are thrown away each year in the UK, and only 4% of those are currently recycled. The brief was to create an impactful installation that conveyed this to the public to help bring about behavioural change.

5,555 cups every minute

The brief called for a visually striking, bold installation which is fun and engaging while creating minimal waste. The aim was to raise awareness around the launch of The Cup Fund, a charity placing specialist coffee cup waste recylcing bins across London and the UK.

We chose to represent the number of cups thrown away every minute in the UK, 5555, as the starting point for the design. We wanted to create a spatial experience for the public to move through and understand the material weight and volume of this otherwise relatively abstract number.

Animated lighting

We wrote custom software to make bespoke lighting animations for the LED-embedded roof, which lit up in the evenings. The lights trace the movement of a person walking through the space, encouraging people to enter the installation and interact with it. Kai Labs came on board for this aspect of the project as our lighting team and worked closely with us to create the lighting elements.

Repetition was a key part of the making and development process - incremental changes have a large impact when working with 5555 units. We enjoyed designing fast and simple production processes, even for basic tasks such as making holes in the base of the cup.

Fully recycled

After the installation was taken down, all of the cups were recycled into new homeware products. The remaining materials, such as the aluminium poles and plywood bases, will also be recycled.

Pre-covid, there were plans for the installation to travel nationwide, but for now the installation is being stored neatly in its custom crate waiting to find out where it will live again.

If you’d like to find out more about Hubbub and their work, please check our their website here. If you have a project or campaign you’d like us to create something for, please send us an email and we can begin the conversation!