Community Mint

The project “Community Mint” is based on the location: Lewisham where in the south of London. It is a process to question the identity of the United Kingdom, the Queen, and what is the meaning behind that. To be specific, the further question is what is the public truly trust? The idea of Community Mint is the opposite of Royal Mint. It is ordinary and close to everyday life. By using the mint toolkit, the Queen on the side of one pound coin replaces on the streets by the new identity which is designed by the local residents.
Based on the research we did to dig into the one pound coin and Royal Mint, it comes out three proposals, one of those is a workshop to explore what makes UK UK. The question is relative to the contradiction between democracy and monarchy. The Queen represents the Royal as well as the democratic country ironically. This is the reason she is on the side of coin. However, should she be there? The ritual has existed hundreds of years until now. When the system of government has changed, does our belief follow the change? Speaking to the coin which depicts the authorised power, who or what is the one to make the promise? That is the exact question we discussed in the workshops.

The individual workshop was in the cafe shop. The participants are chosen randomly to be invited. They followed the instructions on the double-side sheet we gave to design a coin. Normally, they spent more time than we asked for. After we collected these sheets, they talked their experience, stories and expectations of the community. These dialogues deliver what they are and what they believe. Through collecting the elements from the locals, the identity of the community is based on these, redesigning by our team as designers. It is not so important what it is, but the cooperation with citizens. The design does not come up with someone, but a group of ordinary people who are living here. Everyone is equal to contribute their opinions ideally.

The manufacture of a coin is certainly not a unchallenging thing. In order to simulate the process of manufacturing, we attempted to use various materials to make a die. Most of them did not works well. It seems obviously that mental is the best choice to make die and coin. In the reality, the toolkit requires to be done in one week. With the supports from tutors in workshop, we start to make a fine toolkit. Through the considerations of temperature and materials, eventually, there are a spoon made by mental and wood, as well as a die made by acrylic and wire.

The set of tools are inspired by the historical playground in Lewisham in 1972. The playground was composed by a set of infrastructures. In the further development, the toolkit will be extended. They will be used on the street as pop up mint.