Last year, Norges Bank of Norway held a design competition looking to overhaul the country’s current set of bank notes. After a false start (the bank overruled the jury’s original pick of Enzo Finger), the top honor was given to a hybrid-design shared by two firms – Oslo-based architecture and design studio Snohetta (back-side) and Oslo-based graphic design firm The Metric System (front-side).
Designers were asked to work within strict confines of a particular theme – the sea – and each denomination was then given a specific sub-theme. Not wanting to add unnecessary confusion to their citizens, the color palate was to remain along the lines of the current scheme, and there were the additional challenges of designing around newly integrated anti-counterfeiting security measures.
Snohetta’s pixilated design is unquestionably modern while at the same time cleverly hiding a homage to an element known all to well to those who spend their lives by the sea – the wind. The cubic patterns running through the bills are based on the Beaufort scale, a measurement of wind speed that categorizes everything from a gentle breeze to hurricane-force winds. On the 50 kroner note, the wind is gentle as represented by short, cubical shapes and long waves. In contrast, the 1000 kroner note demonstrates a much stronger storm through longer, rectangular cubes and short waves.