Apis

A cup and saucer set for enjoying warm beverages with honey. 

MOTIVATION

The Apis cup and saucer emerged as a response to a challenge to design a cup and saucer using only Euclidean (planar) geometry. This challenge was posed by Dr. Richard Wesley 

PROCESS

The process of creating Apis began by considering various Euclidean forms such as Platonic solids, Archimedean solids, and antiprisms. From exploring and manipulating these solids, the inspiration for a hexagonal cup emerged. In the process of sketching cups and saucers on newsprint, the obvious metaphor between hexagons, honeycombs, bees, and honey led to the emergence of a nesting set of cups on a communal saucer. 

The sketches were translated into physical models of increasing levels of fidelity. The initial model was made from hand cut paper and gave a physical representation of the concept. The second model was made from laser-cut butter board and included more cups. It gave me a chance to get a tactile feel of the cup and saucer set, and let to some refinements of the design. The final model was made in Rhino and then laser cut from museum board.

OUTCOME

The outcome of the Apis cup and saucer set was a gallery show in Addams Hall at the University of Pennsylvania. 

The Apis cup and saucer set celebrates the critical role that honey, and it’s little buzzing creators, plays in our world. In literal and metaphorical terms, the set symbolizes the hive and honeycomb structure that bees erect to store their precious nectar. The set is intended for friends and family to share any honey-sweetened beverage, such as tea, warm milk, or a hot toddy. The central honey pot allows each drinker to sweeten their drink as desired. The set encourages shared experience and stimulates conversation around the importance of bees in our society.