"Heat-shrinking the polystyrene cups created
beautiful shapes" - Paul Cocksedge

| 9 comments

In this movie filmed by Dezeen, east London designer Paul Cocksedge describes his discovery of the interesting forms created when polystyrene cups are heated and how he used the process to create a pendant lamp.

"Heat creating the forms for me was a dream come true" - Paul Cocksedge

Cocksedge first experimented with polystyrene cups ten years ago at the Royal College of Art as part of a project set by Ron Arad, who asked students to "grow a product".

"Heat creating the forms for me was a dream come true" - Paul Cocksedge

Above: image by Mark Cocksedge

"I placed the cup inside [the oven] and something really beautiful happened," he explains. Heat distorts the shape of polystyrene while strengthening it, and Cocksedge made a movie of the process in reverse that looked like the cups were growing.

"Heat creating the forms for me was a dream come true" - Paul Cocksedge

Above: image by Mark Cocksedge

He then built a large number of deformed cups into a sphere to create his Styrene lamp. "As a designer we always search for form and interesting aesthetics, but this was like a dream come true because the heat was doing it for me," he continues.

"Heat creating the forms for me was a dream come true" - Paul Cocksedge

Above: image by Mark Cocksedge

The custom lamp he contributed to the Stepney Green Design Collection is 90cm in diameter - almost twice the size of the designs sold commercially - and was previously on display at the V&A Museum in London as part of an exhibition on British Design. Cocksedge has a studio in London Fields, east London, not far from Stepney Green.

The Stepney Green Design Collection consists of 10 products selected by Marcus Fairs of Dezeen from creatives who live near to VIVO, a new housing development in the east London district. The project also includes objects chosen by east London bloggers Pete Stean of Londoneer and Kate Antoniou of Run Riot.

"Heat creating the forms for me was a dream come true" - Paul Cocksedge

Above: Styrene on display at the British Design 1948–2012: Innovation in the Modern Age exhibition at the V&A, 2012

The collection is on show at the Genesis Cinema, 93-95 Mile End Road, Whitechapel, London E1 4UJ, from 10am to 10pm every day until January. After this, the objects will be given to VIVO residents.

See all the items in the Stepney Green Design Collection here and watch the movies we’ve featured so far here. The music featured in the movies is by American designer and musician Glen Lib. You can listen to the full track on Dezeen Music Project.

  • claire

    To be honest, my friend Pol did the same four years ago. But yeah, it’s a nice one.

    • pizzahead

      Cool. This was done ten years ago. Did you read or watch the post above?

      • Frank

        You may need some ointment for that BURN!

      • aiko

        British designer Neil Austin did his Cup Light already in 1998 – first exhibited 2000 in the UK. Found in Brilliant Lights & Lighting by Jane Pavitt, V&A Contemporary.

  • Dan

    American artist Tara Donovan has been doing much more fabulous stuff like this for years.

  • ringermcpinger

    Yawwnn! Quite a price for something I have seen a fair few architecture students do in their 1st year.

  • Got Coffee ?

    Well, someone's tired, after so many coffees.

  • Matthew

    I did this when I was 9 for a Halloween costume. I was a golf ball on a tee.

  • http://www.fenchelshades.com/ Tarra Faubion

    Great ideas. The good thing about it is the size which is almost twice the size of the designs sold commercially.