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The Social Cup

PCUP is a startup that focuses on eliminating the use of single-use plastic cups and providing reusable and eco-friendly silicone cups for bars, discos, stadiums and social events. The cup has an NFC chip inside it and it works in harmony with the PCUP app to enable smart payments and advance orders of drinks to skip the queue. The app also allows the user to socialize and buy drinks for friends and other people.

The startup wanted to redesign the system of the Cup with a Return box for social events so that the user can return the cup after the event. 

16 Weeks

Group Project

Politecnico di Milano



After the Brief from the company, we redefined the brief based on the research and decided to design a Foldable silicone cup and an interactive & playful Return Box. Also to design the system to make the cup and the return box work seamlessly with the existing app Circle


Empathy Map

We made the empathy map to better understand the needs, feelings, and motivations of the users. This map was developed while carefully observing people in and out of the bar and we mapped out the needs and objectives based on the observations for both the Cup and Return Box.

I am ecofriendly.

I carry my cup with me.


I responsibly discard
my cup in every event.

Lets not go for a drink.

I am drunk so lets 
put this plastic cup 
in the corner.

Let me take the plastic cup this last time.

I feel bad for using plastic cup, but this is easily available.

The bar is too Crowded.

It will be awkward to take my personal cup out here.

Too much waiting time.

From Now on, I will ask for drink in my cup.

I will start using less

Where is the nearest
trash bin?

Does this bar have
my favourite drink?

I want a Drink.




Objective Definition



  • Lightweight and Easy to Carry.

  • Rigid enough to hold the drink.

  • Clear Communication to link the cup to the App.

  • Easy to Clean (Dishwasher safe).

  • Foldable.



  • Visibility in large events.

  • Quick scanning of cups.

  • Interactive and Playful.

  • Distinguishable from trash bins.

  • A place to put event info. and Ads.

Idea Generation


Final Design.

The Final Design is a Foldable silicone cup with a lid that folds into the sleeve and is closed with a lid that results in a small disc-shaped puck. After the drink, the User can either put it in the pocket or purse for personal use or return it to the Return Box. 


Structure of Cup


The cup is designed to last longer and can be reused multiple times. The body of the cup is made up of food-grade silicone which is safe for drinks and is also dishwasher safe. The sleeve is made up of Polypropylene. It helps in holding the glass rigidly as silicone is flexible. Also, this sleeve connects the cup together. The Lid is to cover the cup when you want to take the drink with you. Also after washing the cup, it helps to keep the cup clean.

Joining of Cups


PCUP is designed for events like concerts and outdoor parties where people like to socialize. These Cups can be joined together through sleeves so that one person can go and take the drink for a whole group of friends so that every person doesn't have to go to the drinks counter every time.


These Cups are designed to be resued by the user. So after finishing the drink, the user can collapse the cup from the bottom and then put it in the purse or attach it to his pocket using the lid. The small footprint of the cup is also favourable for the company as they can handle more cups using the same infrastructure of collection, washing, and distribution cups.

Push and Pack

Return Box


Return Boxes are designed for events where the users can use the PCUPs to have a drink during the event and then return the cups to the Return Box after the Event and it will be disconnected from the app. The return Box is easily visible even in a crowded event. It has a distinct and playful appearance that stands out in the crowd and makes it a fun game at the end of the event.

How the Return Works

If the user does not want to keep the cup, they can return the cup at the end of the event. To Return the cup just go to the return box and Put the cup into the column and then the following procedure will take place automatically inside the  return box :

  • Insert the Cup into the Column.

  • The plate will open and scan the cup.

  • The cups get stacked into columns.

  • When the Columns get full, the bottom plate will open.

  • The cups fall into the storage box.

  • Take Out the Box once its full.

Exploded View

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