News / Graphic Design

Snøhetta and Metric’s beautiful, nature-inspired Norwegian banknotes are finally in circulation

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Calle Huth/Studio Illegal

Cast your mind back to the year 2014. Solange had a bust up with Jay-Z in a lift and Oslo’s trans-disciplinary creative champions Snøhetta and their city-companions Metric were tapped up by Norway’s Norges Bank to produce a series of banknotes.

Those banknotes have finally made their way into circulation and as of yesterday (30 October 2018), cash-hungry Norwegians can now finally sashay around town with a work of art stuffed into their back pocket.

Said notes — 50, 100, 200, 500 or 1000 kroner bills — are, Snøhetta say, an attempt to reflect “the importance of the sea to the Norwegian national identity and prosperity.” As we reported back when the announcement was first made, they use images from Norway’s coastal landscape and translates them into pixelated, colour-blocked snapshots.

Rather than just bunging the face of a long-dead economist on the notes, Snøhetta were inspired by both the natural surroundings, and the the wind-speed-measuring Beaufort scale. The aforementioned pixelated patterns take direct inspiration from said measurement.

“On the 50 kroner note the wind is gentle, represented by a dense cubic patterning and long, tame waves in a subtle organic wave pattern,” Snøhetta say. “On the other side of the scale, the 1 000 kroner note is characterized by a strong wind, expressed through long, pixelated cubes and short, choppy waves.”

Despite the fact that in a report published by Business Insider it was confirmed that fewer than 10% of all transactions in Norway are made via cash, Snøhetta still feels that “banknotes are symbols of a nation.”

Metric Design and illustrator Terje Tønnesen have developed the design concept used for the obverse faces, giving Norwegian consumers even more bang for thier buck. Taking a slightly more traditional approach, their side of the notes features faithful representations of classic Norwegian seafaring vessels. You can see more of that work right here.

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Calle Huth/Studio Illegal

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Calle Huth/Studio Illegal

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Calle Huth/Studio Illegal

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Calle Huth/Studio Illegal

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Metric

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Metric