It’s not every day that you get to chat with one of the guys who designed the Sydney Olympic torch. Amongst other lifestyle products, they also design their own line of wallets and we’ve got six to give away.
Before I left Australia, India and I had dinner at a Thai restaurant on the NSW Central Coast. The lady behind the counter offered me a rewards card – something along the lines of ‘buy dinner here for the rest of your life and get one free.’ I shouldn’t have, but with the smell of our massaman beef wafting out from the kitchen and the smile of the waitress, I reluctantly accepted the piece of paper. Now that I’m off traveling the world I really don’t have much use for the thing and along with all the other loyalty cards I’ve accrued over the years, it does nothing but chunk up my wallet. But that’s where my new discovery of Dosh comes in. Dosh wallets are sexy, fit all currencies and have just enough space for the essentials, which means no unnecessary cards! I asked designer Henri Spaile if he wouldn’t mind answering a few questions I had about their new range of ‘Wallets as Art’ – with art by a few of my favorites: Beastman, WBYK and Ben Brown. He said ‘sure’ and then I politely asked if he could spare a few for us to give away, and he gave us six! Details are at the bottom of the page. But first…
Henri, a lot of people might not actually realize just how familiar they are with your work already. You had a hand in designing two very famous Australian icons – the 2000 Sydney Olympic Torch and the Victa Tornado Lawnmower. How does it feel to be shaping the nation and world through design?
Yes, it’s true, aside from Dosh, I also co-run a design consultancy called Blue Sky. We have designed many well known products over the years including the Olympic torch and Victa lawn mowers. In terms of shaping the nation, to be honest I don’t really think about it much because by the time a product is released it feels like the past in my mind, and I’ve already moved onto designing the next product!
What other products have you worked on and did any of these inspire you to start designing wallets?
It’s hard to say. I did work on some really enjoyable projects designing small mobile products – some cameras for Olympus, laptop bags for Targus and some projects with Philips which I think subconsciously kind of steered me down the path to designing products that you carry with you. There’s something about mobile products that is interesting, because these days we are always on the move and it’s good to kind of facilitate this by creating products that are functional to people wherever they go.
It’s known that Dosh wallets look and feel good, but this new range is something special. How did the ‘Wallets as Art’ range come about?
We did a wallets as art range a couple of years ago which was curated by Monster Children Gallery. Everyone loved the idea, and it worked really well because Dosh wallets are so clean and functional they make a great “canvas” for the artists to work on. When we recently brought out the new magic wallet range we knew it would be a good opportunity to do a second instalment of the wallets as art series. We contacted our friends at Art Park in Byron Bay who were happy to curate the latest series, and it just took off from there.
I read that you once said design was, “…about creating something that’s good and then letting everyone have it.” I know they look good, but can you tell me more about their recyclability? Are they ‘good’ from an environmental perspective?
Yes, this is something we really try and focus on with the design of dosh products. All dosh wallets are made out of a recyclable polymer material called Desmopan, so no leather, harmful dyes or chemicals are used in production. Another area we worked hard on is the packaging of the products – each wallet is packed into a transparent case which can be used as a money-box – so no packaging to throw away in the waste stream. As well as these things, we are also super big on local manufacture – our factory is under our control here in Sydney, and we don’t buy any finished product from China or offshore.
We’ve got two of each design in the new Dosh ‘Wallets as Art’ range curated by Art Park. To win ONE of SIX wallets email firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Dosh’ in the subject field and tell us in 25 words or less what you spend most of your Dosh on. Alternatively, you can leave your entry in a comment below. We’ll pick the most creative answers as winners. Competition closes on the 10th of September, 2012.