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Snøhetta: Beauty of Boundaries (detail)

Work / Graphic Design

Snøhetta’s designs for Norway’s new banknotes are a pixellated haven

Sometimes I can’t help but wonder what our banknotes and coins would look like without Queen Liz’s face slapped all over them. As it looks like that won’t change anytime soon, I instead look to other countries for monetary inspiration.

For instance Norway’s Norges Bank have just announced new designs that will make their way into circulation in 2017 and boy are they beautiful. Two designers have been selected for each side of the notes with The Metric System’s design providing a starting point for the front and Oslo-based Snøhetta for the reverse.

It’s the reverse designs that have got us really excited, not just because they look fab but because of the concept behind them. Titled Beauty of Boundaries, Snøhetta’s notes use images from Norway’s costal landscape and translates them into pixellated, colour-blocked snapshots.

The varying pixellations are not random though with the studio using the Beaufort wind force scale as an influence. On the 50 kroner note for example, the ‘wind’ is weak, so the image is created using short, square shapes, while for the 1,000 kroner note the wind is much stronger interpreted by longer, stretched-out bricks of colour. It’s a lovely idea and is executed in a fresh and exciting way that will hopefully pave the way for more distinctive banknotes in the future.

As an interesting aside when we asked about higher res images we were told that security concerns mean these are the best that can be circulated; which in retrospect makes perfect sense!

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