If you ever had the desire to have a snowball fight with the devil, now’s the time because we’re writing about McDonald’s on our contemporary ceramic art blog.
McDonald’s in France (of course it’s in Europe; other countries get all the interesting stuff) made the decision a few years ago to replace their disposable coffee cups with reusable ones. The move is friendlier for the environment; some activists estimate that America, for example, throws away up to 25 billion foam coffee cups every year. The corporation teamed up with Parisian designer Patrick Norguet for the project. Norguet created small ceramic mugs that have colorful slips to protect the user’s hand. Five million of these were given away across the country for a one-time promotion.
“The attempt to roll out reusable coffee cups is an important step for McDonald’s waste diversion efforts. Since McDonald’s released its popular McCafe and new roasted coffee around the world, the company has seen a resurgence in sales and brand appeal and has given coffee chains like Starbucks a run for their money. But that success still means more waste that municipalities cannot or will not handle in their waste stream as landfill space comes ever more at a premium.
“Norguet has given McDonald’s in France a refreshing alternative to that drab throwaway foam cup. The reusable tasse, the equivalent of a short coffee size here in the U.S., comes in six colors that do not scream “golden arches” at the consumer. The ceramic cups, with a sturdy base and foam sheath that both protects the hand and provides easy gripping, come in vibrant hues of pink, yellow and blue or more muted grey and brown. McDonald’s France has requested 5 million cups that the company’s workers will give out free during an upcoming promotion.”
Norguet, who has worked with the corporation previously on redesigning the restaurant’s architecture in France, had this to say about the cup design:
“Designing an everyday object in large quantities: McDonald’s asked me to design an object to be used by all of its customers. The idea was simple: to draw inspiration from McDonalds’ already established style. This project and the issues inherent in producing large quantities – five million copies – call into question the need for ownership and the embodiment of a brand through a timeless object.”
We’re envious of the designer’s talent for adapting heady design-speak for a fast food coffee mug. Bravo.
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