Mint by Smith & Wightman and BCMH

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Product designers Smith & Wightman and graphic designers BCMH of London have collaborated to design a conceptual system of currency made of various materials including cork, glass, metal and wood.

Called Mint, the series of 'coins' have been given values according to the amount of time invested in extracting the material and fabricating each object.

The project was exhibited as part of an exhibition called If You Could Collaborate at the A Foundation Gallery in London last month.

Here is some more information from William Smith of Smith & Wightman:

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MINT is a series of objects of different value that operate as a currency. The objects have accrued their value through the amount of time invested in them.

Time embedded in the material (through harvesting/ extracting and processing) and then time spent in fabrication.

In making this collection of objects, and clearly stating their relative value, we ask how much of the value of an object resides within it, and how much is brought to it by the potential owner?

Why do certain forms or materials look more expensive than others? What is the value of an object with no apparent function?

Mint’s monetary units have been designed using the following principles:

They must fit in one hand so as to be easily exchangeable
They must be readily reproducible
They must be durable and non-perishing
They must not rely on additional objects to operate (eg. Batteries)

  • Serena T

    Pretty nice concept: the visualization of this kind of value could return some dignity to human work…or labour.

  • Peter

    ‘They must fit in one hand so as to be easily exchangeable’
    Fantastic!
    How about?
    Must fit in a trouser pocket or purse?

    ‘They must be readily reproducible.’ An important principal, especially when the next is ‘They must be durable and non-perishing.’
    Cork ‘coins’ would last one day, and is valued at 50c? Which is it?
    Urgh.

  • toby

    Give it a rest Peter.
    Urgh.

  • kaptnk

    completely useless surely?

  • tc

    beautiful idea. well executed.

  • http://www.ghochzwei.ch ghochzwei

    i second everyone and sum it up:

    the appearance is inversely proportional to the usabillity ;o)

  • http://www.rebeccapasternack.com Rebecca Pasternack

    I think the concept is very strong, as the design vision states:

    “In making this collection of objects, and clearly stating their relative value, we ask how much of the value of an object resides within it, and how much is brought to it by the potential owner?Why do certain forms or materials look more expensive than others ? What is the value of an object with no apparent function?”

    Good questions. Why is a Louis Vuitton purse any more valuable than just a regular plastic purse (i believe his purses are plastic, not even leather, http://paulineym.blogspot.com/2008/03/good-question-what-are-louis-vuitton.html)? and why are they more valuable than the leather they are mimicking? how much is the purse innately worth and how much are those gold LV initials worth? And what about a ‘fake’ LV bag? what makes those gold initials different from the ‘original’ set of gold initials?