When looking for a gift for a friend on Regent Street yesterday, I stumbled upon a little surprise. Well, two, actually. One was the madness going on around Oxford Circus (think twice before going on a Saturday in the middle of London’s Fashion Week). The other was a pop-up exhibit forming part of the London Design Festival.

Like most New Yorkers, artist Gwyneth Leech enjoys her coffee best in a white, to-go cup, because there really isn’t any time to be wasted in actually sitting down to drink your morning caffeine jolt. But unlike most New Yorkers, Gwyneth Leech saved a cup from each day of the year, writing on its bottom the time, place, the cup’s original contents, and the occasion in which it was drunk. And then she let inspiration take over, illustrating and capturing a scene, memory, color, or motif on each of these cups.

The result is a display of 365 paper cups (carefully preserved and coated) dangling in a store window on one of London’s busiest streets. It represents the accumulation of a seemingly insignificant cup over time, and what would have otherwise filled a landfill turned into an artist’s medium for daily self-expression. There was a street scene of huddled figures walking with umbrellas, a version of Picasso’s sunflowers, and a pattern that closely resembled our Milky Way. Leech is clearly influenced by her surroundings as the current cup-in-progress is stamped with London’s iconic red bus.

London Design Festival is an annual celebration of design and its penetration in our daily lives – from installations in the most inconspicuous spots of the city to complex exhibits in major galleries. Some design communities have clustered together to form their own “design districts”, reflecting the different borough’s creative energies . The festival lasts just eight days and has over 300 events, exhibits, and projects on show.
So if you’re in London this week, keep your eyes open and vigilant for that sudden surprise of design where you least expect it. Otherwise, you can always take a look at the festival’s full guide to seek out what interests you most. Design is everywhere, you just have to pay attention.
365 – A Year in Cups by Gwyneth Leech
158 Regent Street, London, W1B 5SW
(Tube: Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus)
London Design Festival
14 – 22 September 2013
[Photo credit: 1: LDF, 2-4: my own]
  • Katelyn Brown

    I love this idea! What a truly unique way to preserve your most endearing memories!

    xoxo, K

  • YoungMild&Free

    What an awesome idea! I hope I can see this in person some day.


  • http://www.awandererspath.com/ Ardena Gonzalez

    The artist is American, so maybe she’ll be doing exhibits in the U.S too! Her name is Gwnyeth Leech if you want to look her up. Thanks for reading and commenting :)

  • http://www.awandererspath.com/ Ardena Gonzalez

    I agree Katelyn! It’s a good DIY idea too :) Thanks for stopping by the blog!