Red Cup Project displays installation made of Solo cups on quad

The display came after a design competition in which the winning design planned to create spherical shapes out of the red Solo cups.

The Red Cup Project members displayed spheres made of red Solo cups from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday on the quad in order to raise awareness for sustainability and environmental issues with arts.

Three Syracuse University architecture students and one from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry started the project as a group assignment in the architecture class ARC 500: Politics of Public Space, taught by Associate Professor Lori Brown. In October 2014, the project members formed installations of red Solo cups to spread the knowledge about polystyrene, a plastic material used to make the cup that is not recyclable in Syracuse.

After the initial installations in fall 2014, the project members announced a design competition that went on from Feb. 9 to March 6 in order to get ideas about installation with red Solo cups around campus. After they announced “The Red Cup Spheres and Lines” as the winner design on March 20 at the ESF Gateway Center, they started assembling the spheres on March 29. Most of the spheres they have assembled were made up of the cups that they picked up every Sunday starting on March 22.

“We put three cups into a small triangular shape. That is the basic form, and all the triangles were put together to make a spherical form,” said Leslie Baz, an architecture senior and a project member. She also noted that the cups were tied together with four staples on each cup, and those who helped to assemble learned how to make the spheres quickly.

“We wanted a design that was accessible and understandable to other people,” Baz said.

Baz started assembling the spheres with other project members in early April, including Kathryn Chesebrough, a landscape architecture senior at SUNY-ESF, Vinh Van Vo, an architecture senior and Liam Donaher, a freshman in landscape architecture and designer of the winner design. Later on, they organized two ball-making parties from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on April 11 and April 17 at Chesebrough’s backyard near Westcott. Baz said around 12 people participated in the cleaning and assembling of the red cups at both parties, including the project members themselves.

Together they assembled 14 spheres, each of which was made up of 180 red Solo cups.

After finishing the assembling, the project members displayed the spheres, first during Earthfest from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday at Thornden Park, and then they moved them to the quad on Wednesday. The spheres remained there from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Baz said the project members had fun moving the installation to the quad. “Basically to anyone who was walking by us, we were like, ‘Hey, we're the Red Cup Project. Do you want to help us?’ It was Kate who was cheerfully asking,” Baz said. “We also carried the balls over our heads to the campus.”

She also mentioned the project members got feedback about the installation of the spheres. “Some people were like, ‘How much are these balls? We want to buy these.’ Other people asked what the installation was about,” Baz said. “Also, people asked what we would do with the cups.”

Baz said they would display the spheres at Stone Quarry Hill Art Park in Cazenovia each Saturday from Aug. 22 to Sept. 12. Then, the cups would be sent to TerraCycle, a company that recycles materials and repurposes them into affordable innovative products, and the company would make a chair with the material of the cups.

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