The worldwide banking corporation HSBC is moving its UK head office to Birmingham! This is a significant event for Birmingham and HSBC as the revival of the Midland Bank which was bought by HSBC in 1992. Their new headquarters will begin construction in June 2016 and is planned to be ready for early 2018.
To commemorate the event HSBC are burying a time capsule at the site of their new headquarters. Inside the capsule will be iconic memorabilia from Birmingham and the School of Jewellery have been commissioned to create a medal to commemorate the event. I entered my design to the School and it was such a surprise to hear that mine had been selected. It was really exciting to think that my design was going to get made in silver, and would be buried in a time capsule under the city of Birmingham. One day if that capsule is dug up I would like to think that the people looking at the contents will find the medal, look at the images to get a picture of what Birmingham was like in 2016 and appreciate the beautiful architecture of the city.
Exploring Birmingham with my camera for inspiration
When I first received this brief I was a little lost. So I started off by doing my research and looking into the history of it all. I found out about HSBC's values in supporting business's world wide and also their commitment to the community. So I started to think about a few of the things that could represent this visually on the medal.
I decided that the best way to record Birmingham was to go out and take pictures myself! So I grabbed my camera and head to the old Midland Bank headquarters, then to the town centre and the beautiful town hall. I also went to see the more recent iconic buildings of Birmingham such as the Library and finished off my tour back in the Jewellery Quarter at the recognisable clock tower.
Getting to work on the Design
Once I had compiled all the pictures that I felt represented Birmingham I got to work in my sketchbook working out a rough design for the medal. Then I took to Photoshop to arrange a composition and back to my sketchbook to finalise a design.
Once I had my design and images ready I then used ArtCam to create 3D relief. I tried to work in layers, and made use of the Clip Art folder to save my background relief so that I could go back and tidy up the different sections. To finish the design I added the library pattern on top and flattened an area to place the HSBC logo.
I used the edit tools to smooth out areas and carved into the Midland Bank Limited title to make it clearer to read. Once I finished off the design I added a blank banner where the HSBC logo, School of Jewellery Hallmark and Assay marks could be put to identify the medal in the future.
Beginning to create the medal
There was a very lengthy testing process to get the design made in silver. Because of the scale of the design (100mm by 100mm) it had to be trailed on a few different 3D printers before being moulded and cast. Below is a slide show of some of the tests that were undertaken on the Objet and EnvisionTec.
Through testing we found that it was best 3D printed in a direct castable material and casting it straight from the wax model. This captured the detail required in the design and taking a mould from the resin prints was very difficult.
Promotional filming for HSBC by MCM Creative Group
To document the creation of the Time Capsule, HSBC made a short film to show the different items being selected and talking with those who contributed. I was interviewed by MCM Creative Group for the documentary to talk about my inspiration behind the design process. The filming was taken at the Birmingham Assay office where we got to see the creation of the engraving which would be done on the reverse of the medal.
The interview was conducted by Michelle Yeomans and she gave some wonderful feedback on the project:
"Stephanie Wills was a pleasure to work with on HSBC’s Time Capsule project. It came as no surprise that she was chosen to design the medallion to commemorate the bank’s move to Birmingham. Her enthusiasm for the city’s heritage coupled with a creative and keen eye for detail made Stephanie the ideal person for the job! I look forward to seeing her future creations." - Michelle Yeomans, Producer at MCM Creative Group
Final Medal in Silver
The medal is in the finishing process at the moment and I should have some pictures of the finished piece to share with you soon. But I do have some pictures of the casting process so you can see the detail captured in the silver.