Coin sculpture wins prestigious CREATE | Desktop design award / by Josh Flowers

The exciting coin sculpture I designed last year with a small team from Paper Moose has won the prestigious CREATE Design Project of the year award for 2015. A huge thank you to them for the award.

Here is a small interview discussing the motivation behind the project:

What did the process for deciding upon the coin motif involve?

The initial project brief was to develop a concept to draw attention to recycling kiosks the City of Sydney were installing around the city. We thought a sculptural installation using recycled bottles would be a cool idea, and it didn’t take long to decide that using the 10 cent refund motif (which was a core part of the campaign) was the way to go.

What are the key points of inspirations, or the underpinning principles for the direction you took?

Clarity, scale and boldness were the key principles. Could we make this thing big, could we make this thing bold, and could we make it stand out?

How did you develop the visual language (in terms of research, selecting materials etc) for the sculpture?

The visual language developed fairly naturally from the choice of materials. Knowing we needed a rigid frame to hold over 1000 recycled bottles in a perfect grid, we knew we would be using some kind of laser cut metal (in the end, mild steel).

We put the coin on a slight angle, to create a kind of impossible lean. For a sculpture that weighed over a tonne, this was no small feat. We had a few engineers carefully calculating wind loads to help us devise a a way to build the frame so it was strong enough to survive freak storms.

We created a plinth for the coin to sit on for two reasons: one so that it presented as a sculptural object, and second as a space to house the electronics and the tonne of ballast it required.

What were the biggest challenges involved in the project, and in building the sculpture?

It was an incredibly challenging project, from a budgetary standpoint, but also from pure logistics, design, and assembly. The entire structure was laser cut, but then had to be painstakingly hand-welded together. The front disc structure by itself for example is made up of 7 steel sheets that were meticulously joined. Each bottle (1,200 of them) then had to be coloured and installed in the frame by hand.

What, in your view, is the most successful element of the project?

We took creative and financial risks in developing this concept along with our fantastic clients, the Zero Waste team at the City of Sydney, and we think it paid off. We created a striking installation by turning used water bottles, objects normally associated with ugliness, into something beautiful. Then we then backed it all up with an important message: that #recyclingpays.