Red Cup Project announces design competition

The Red Cup Project, who made an installation out of red Solo cups in the fall semester, will return this spring with a contest to pick their next installation.

The Red Cup Project members announced last Monday a design competition with red Solo cups. Originally starting the project as a group project for an architecture course in fall of 2014, they are now trying to combine arts with the awareness of sustainability.

Three Syracuse University architecture students and one from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry started the Red Cup Project as a group project for the architecture class ARC 500: Politics of Public Space, taught by Associate Professor Lori Brown. In October 2014, the project members formed installations made of red Solo cups that they collected on campus in order to raise awareness for sustainability and environmental issues. Kathryn Chesebrough, one of the group members and landscape architecture senior at ESF, said red Solo cups are made of No. 6 polystyrene, a plastic that is not recyclable in Syracuse.

The project members continued to spend two Sundays in October and three Sundays in November collecting 7,500 red Solo cups together with people who joined in their red cup pickup event, according to architecture senior Vinh Van Vo, a group member and designer of the initial red Solo cup structures.

Now the project members are seeking to get more design ideas. On Monday, the Red Cup Project announced a design competition using 10,000 red Solo cups on social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.

“We are looking forward to seeing what people from all disciplines are thinking, and it’s our challenge to figure it out,” Chesebrough said. “The installation last semester was like a test for this semester.”

The project members are still reaching out to faculty whom they consider as potential judges of the competition, and they said professor Lori Brown has already agreed to judge the competition.

“We would like to get judges who have their own specialties. They look at things differently because these entries need to be judged based on creativity, intent, feasibility of construction,” Chesebrough said. “Any good idea can be expressed visually. If you have a great idea, jot it down and send it to us.”

The members have also designed posters for the announcement. Participants are asked to submit three drawings of the design and a statement of intent, all 8.5x11 inches in PDF form. The deadline of submission is March 6, and the winning design will be announced on March 20 and the installation of the design will be presented from April 10 to May 15. It will also be installed at Stone Quarry Hill Art Park in Cazenovia, according to Syracuse architecture senior Leslie Baz, also a project member.

According to a press release by the project members, they have also connected to ACR Health, a not-for-profit organization located in downtown Syracuse dealing with chronic disease. The organization also collected materials that could be upcycled, including the red Solo cups. They also noted that they were setting pick-up spots around fraternity and sorority houses and would continue the pickup event when the weather gets warmer. They hope to collect up to 10,000 red Solo cups by the end of the semester.

Once ACR Health got enough red Solo cups from the project members, it would send them to TerraCycle, a company that recycles materials and repurposes them into affordable innovative products. In return, TerraCycle will send a donation check for $50 to ACR Health at the rate of $0.01 per item.

The project members noted that the design competition and the following recycle process addressed both art and awareness of sustainability.

“We are trying to spark a conversation of sustainability, and we spark it through art. They don’t have to be two different things,” Vo said. “The action sparks the art, and the art sparks action back and forth.”

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