Cup thumbnail 1
Cup thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

Cup

1967-1968 (manufactured)
Artist/Maker

The 'Nova' range of stackable plastic tableware included cups, saucers, plates, bowls, sugar bowls and jugs in four different colours; red, yellow, blue and brown. The bi-injection, two-colour moulding system of the 'Nova' range was a new technique - previously only used in the automotive industry for moulding red, amber and clear plastic rear light covers. Innovative in design terms, all the decoration occurred during the manufacturing process. Though this type of plastic was comparatively expensive, it was very rigid and resistant to staining, with high thermal resistance and good colouring properties.
During the 1960s a general fascination with new materials helped break down the traditional response to plastic as a cheap substitute for more luxury materials. Instead it was treated as a quality material in its own right. The 'Nova' range won the Duke of Edinburgh's Prize for Elegant Design in 1968. The judges especially commended the simplicity of production and the attempts to meet consumer requirements. Designs created an idea of the 1960s kitchen as a small area full of high-tech equipment. Modern-looking, space-saving, and stackable, 'Nova' appealed to designers as well as consumers. The range was retailed through image-conscious design stores like Habitat and Heal's.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Styrene acrylonitrile co-polymer
Brief Description
Blue cup from the 'Nova' range of stackable plastic tableware, designed by David Harman Powell and made by Ekco Plastics Ltd., 1967-1968.
Physical Description
Stackable cup made from plastic. The cup with straight-sided upper section, tapering lower section to base, and rectilinear handle. White inner and lower section, blue upper section and handle.
Dimensions
  • Height: 6.5cm
  • Diameter: 8.3cm
  • Width: 11cm (including handle)
Object history
Historical significance: Winner of the Duke of Edinburgh's Prize for Elegant Design in 1968.
Summary
The 'Nova' range of stackable plastic tableware included cups, saucers, plates, bowls, sugar bowls and jugs in four different colours; red, yellow, blue and brown. The bi-injection, two-colour moulding system of the 'Nova' range was a new technique - previously only used in the automotive industry for moulding red, amber and clear plastic rear light covers. Innovative in design terms, all the decoration occurred during the manufacturing process. Though this type of plastic was comparatively expensive, it was very rigid and resistant to staining, with high thermal resistance and good colouring properties.

During the 1960s a general fascination with new materials helped break down the traditional response to plastic as a cheap substitute for more luxury materials. Instead it was treated as a quality material in its own right. The 'Nova' range won the Duke of Edinburgh's Prize for Elegant Design in 1968. The judges especially commended the simplicity of production and the attempts to meet consumer requirements. Designs created an idea of the 1960s kitchen as a small area full of high-tech equipment. Modern-looking, space-saving, and stackable, 'Nova' appealed to designers as well as consumers. The range was retailed through image-conscious design stores like Habitat and Heal's.
Bibliographic References
  • Duke of Edinburgh's Prize for Elegant Design, Design Journal, May 1968, no.223, pp.26-28.
  • The Plastics age: from modernity to post-modernity, edited by Penny Sparke (London: Victoria & Albert Museum, 1990)
Collection
Accession Number
CIRC.793E/1-1968

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record createdSeptember 1, 2011
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