Earlier this year, Norway's Norges Bank held a design competition for the country's future currency. Entrants were asked to stick with the theme "The Sea," but other than that, were given free reign.
Eight designers and firms made it to the final round, and submissions from two different design firms were chosen for further development. As seen below, the "Norwegian Living Space" concept by The Metric System was chosen for the face of the 100 Kroner note, and the abstract, designey "Beauty of Boundaries" concept by Snøhetta Design chosen for the back:
As we've previously reported, it was interesting that Norges Bank decided to split the victory (overruling the jury in the process), choosing one more traditional design and one very modern design to share the same note. But even more fascinatingly, there was a designer in the competition who also had the idea to sharply contrast the fronts and backs (or obverse and reverse, in monetary parlance). Designer and illustrator Aslak Gurholt Rønsen, co-founder of design collective Yokoland, had this novel idea (loosely translated from Norwegian):It was important to find motifs that are iconic, recognizable and easy to distinguish. [With these submissions] the subject matter on the back of the notes is similar to the front, but the backs are drawn by children. It creates a connection between the two sides, while containing both a structural and conceptual difference.
Children are the future, and for us, the whole idea of Norway is one of a democracy with equal opportunities for all, where the children have a central place.
The jury deemed Rønsen's efforts "a vital, playful and original approach to the theme and design," if not good enough to take top prize. But it's a novel idea. Not one that would ever fly in America, of course; our kids are too busy spending money to design it.
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