Money, Lovely Money

Before the Euro, Dutch money was the most beautiful in the world. A new Five Euro coin, designed by artist and architect Stani Michiels, is a worthy successor to a great tradition

Before the Euro, Dutch money was the most beautiful in the world. A new Five Euro coin, designed by artist and architect Stani Michiels, is a worthy successor to a great tradition

Michiels won a Dutch Ministry of Finance competition to design a coin with the theme of ‘Netherlands and Architecture’. “I approached the subject ‘Netherlands and Architecture’ from two points of view,” he says on his blog. “On one hand I paid tribute to the rich Dutch architecture history and on the other hand to the contemporary quality of Dutch architecture. These form also the two sides of my coin. Traditionally the front of the coin needs to portray the queen, while the back side displays the value of the coin.”

For the front of the coin, Michiels listed the names of prominent Dutch architects according to how many hits they gained on the internet: “Of course this order changes over time and as such this is another time stamp on the coin besides the number ‘2008’. Only the first 109 architects fitted on the coin, so that was immediately the selection.”

Using different weights of a monoline font that he designed especially for the task, Michiels arranged the names to create a portrait of the Dutch queen.

On the reverse, Michiels referenced the sheer number of architecture books published currently, arranging different sized books around the edge of the coin so that the space between their tops forms the outline of a map of The Netherlands. “The books rise as buildings towards the center. Through their careful placement they combine to outline the Netherlands, while birds’ silhouettes suggest the capitals of all the provinces. The following scheme reveals the process:”

In a delicious added twist, Michiels designed the whole thing using only free software. The coin was released to the public on 30 October.

Thanks to Design Observer for the link

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