The Japanese art of paper folding is not only a hobby, but a creative form of expression that is both meditative and subtly sophisticated in its designer dexterity. Now, origami has added to its impressive résumé a new title: travel cup extraordinaire.

Man opens up his folding Uphold Cup.

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How can paper (even the toughest, thickest paper) be used as a vessel to hold liquids and transport them on-the-go? The answer becomes immediately clear upon an introduction to the genius design of the Uphold Cup.

An unfolded Uphold Cup next to a fully folded one still in the packaging.

Unlike the folded swans and fantastic folding fans of origami yore, the Uphold Cup isn’t made of paper. Instead, it uses polymer polypropylene (PP) as the basis for its construction. Stiff yet incredibly foldable, PP is malleable in its own right, allowing the user to fold over and over with relative ease while retaining a shape strong enough to hold both cold and hot beverages (up to 100°C in temperature).

Woman stores a fully folded Uphold Cup inside her purse.

Of course, in an age where more and more people are looking to sustainable materials in everything from their homes to their beauty products, a reusable travel cup is nothing new – many people have made the switch to things like reusable water bottles and straws in an effort to ditch unnecessary plastic consumption. But the Uphold Cup does edge out its competitors with one small (but very important) caveat: it’s not only portable and reusable, it’s foldable, transforming into a flat disc when not in use, making it both cute and super easy to store.

Young woman holds her unfolded Uphold Cup in her hands.

And it’s not just a novelty, either; the Uphold Cup’s materials are food-grade and BPA-free, so users can expect foldable functionality that’s both sturdy and long-lasting (not to mention fun to play with!)

There’s something hypnotizing about the Uphold Cup’s accordian-like unraveling that, similar to its traditional inspiration, instills thoughtfulness and peace — something extremely satisfying about the design that gives it that extra je ne sais quoi not found in your standard reusable coffee cups and water bottles.

Unfolded Uphold Cups with different color lids next to their packaging.

A winner of the 2021 Goldreed Industrial Design Award, the Uphold Cup was, according to Yanko Design, “made as a rejection of single-use culture,” and it certainly delivers with its origami-inspired flair that’s both hypnotic and eco-friendly. Compact, reusable, refoldable, and most of all, fun, this cup is sure to fold its way into users’ hearts before long.