The assignment: design an interior inside a bus based on the previously designed pop-up in the Provincial Hall. We quickly realised that the limited measurements of a bus do not suit the ambition to stimulate a great conversation. It is rather a cup of coffee or tea that brings people together. Thus the assignment was remoulded into designing a special coffee set based on the humour strategies by Freud.
The Province of Utrecht founded the UtrechtLab. An institute that stands for collaboration between parties in order to make complex and extensive projects open to discussion.
Our society in general, and more specifically the Province of Utrecht, faces more assignments that are very complex, extensive and above all require a multi-disciplinary approach. Collaboration is the way to reach achievable solutions. The province does not regard itself as the responsible organising party, but more as a partner that does not only facilitate, but rather stimulates.
Scenario-thinking is the commonly used strategy to explore the framework and reach the essence of an assignment. Complementary to a quantitative approach in numbers strategy thinking offers wider insights. This resulted in the design of a set of coffee cups, inspired by the humour strategies formulated by Freud, in which each cup forms the starting point for a surprising turn in the conversation.
In total fifteen unique coffee-cups and a table cloth were designed and stored in a tailor-made case. From the moment the table cloth with the logo of Utrecht Lab is on the table, the space is claimed for the Lab. Each cup has its own character which depicts the corresponding strategy. The conversation can start.
The cups were produced by the firm Royal Goedewaagen, Nieuw Buinen. Their expertise and experience led to minimal, but essential, alterations to the design which made it possible to produce even the most complex cup.
Prior to this project we were unaware that the design of a cup can have such a profound impact on the course of a conversation and making a design decision. We see the cups in our daily conversations as a welcome source of inspiration.