Simone Gamberoni is a designer from Italy and took part in the Euro design competition for the 10 Years of Euro Cash. His design was one of the top 5 finalists and ultimately finished 4th. We have interviewed Simone - below please find our questions and his answers;
1) Could you please tell us a bit about yourself and profession?
About me… Well I’ve always been in to “art” world. Since I was 2 or 3 years old I always liked to draw, paint and do manual and craft work in general.
I’ve been to Art School in Florence and after that I went to University in Bologna, where I got the degree in Anatomical Drawing. It’s a course that specializes students in medical-scientific Illustration, both with traditional and digital techniques.
Since 2007 I’ve been working in a graphic studio that creates personalized courtesy accessories and packaging for its customers (mainly hotels and similar in luxury sector).
2) How did you learn about the competition? Were you interested in taking part straight away or only after some thoughts?
My brother told me about the competition. He receives job and competition offers by e-mails, and he thought that I could be interested. And I was.
The only problem was that he found this announcement just a few days before competition expired, on 20th of May. So I had to find quickly an idea of what to prepare.
3) What inspired you drawing that design?
I wanted to make something simple to understand and “clean” from a design point of view. The coin for the 10 years of Euro currency 1999-2009 was a sort of hand made drawing so I wanted to make it different.
I started to think how to put together an image that recalls Europe, something that recalls explicitly the 10th anniversary of the Euro and at last something that gives the idea of a further union between the countries thanks to Euro.
After that the image of what I had to do appeared in my mind almost finished.
All these elements had to be intersected the ones with the other; the big number 10 on the background with the map of Europe without boundaries.
The last details added are the two horizontal bars with the dates 2002-2012 that together with the “0” recalls the Euro symbol. So in the final version the drawing had all the elements I wanted to insert: Europe, 10, Euro symbol and the 2002-2012 dates (that were mandatory in the competition rules).
4) Did you have other designs in your mind but since the competition allowed only one design per designer you were forced to submit that one? If yes, could you tell us more about your other designs?
I didn’t have time to think seriously about something else. Another idea that I wanted to develop was a different solution where the single countries were represented not by a map but by something else of their culture. But time was running out and I followed my first idea.
5) How did you learn that your design made it to the final? What were your feelings?
I was at work and I saw an e-mail that seemed to be from the European Commission. In the first moment I thought it was spam and I was ready to delete it. But I read it and then I started to realize that it could be real; but I took about 1 hour to believe it. Which common person receives an e-mail from European Commission?
I never even hoped I could be one of the 5 finalists, even more in a European competition. I was just amazed and pleased.
6) During the 3 weeks voting period how were your feelings? Did you check websites and forums to check what collectors are saying about your design?
I’ve been in suspense! The last two days I woke up with this worry!
The day before the winner was to be announced, the 29th of June, I looked on Internet and checked forums that talked about this competition. That day I realized that almost certainly I wasn’t the winner.
I’ve never been sure of course, but I hoped a little bit. That afternoon the European Commission wrote me and confirmed my “fears” and said that I wasn’t the winner.
7) What was your reaction when the winner was announced but it was not you?
A little bit of delusion because I believe I’ll never go again so near to the first place in competitions like this. But as I previously said I wasn’t surprised, I realized the day before that the winner probably wasn’t me.
In any case the coin that won is the one I would have voted if I hadn’t been one of the finalists.
I was a little bit disappointed because the winner is a professional designer of the mint. Not because of him, but if the European Commission launches a design competition open to “normal” citizens I think that some categories of people should be excluded.
Of course Mr. Andexlinger was totally right when he decided to participate, as this rule didn’t exist, and I’m happy he won because I like his work and the style of the illustration.
8) Two Euro coins already have a map on the common side. In view of this don’t you think voters didn’t vote for your design because they didn’t want to see map on both sides of the coin?
Stupidly I didn’t think about that; I was so absorbed following and realizing my idea that I didn’t think there’s the map also on the other side. Time was against me too.
9) Was this your first time taking part in a coin design competition?
Yes. In 2005 I took part in a stamp design competition for the 100 years of Ferrovie dello Stato, the Italian Railway Company. I never had an answer from them and I didn’t even know if they received my illustration.
10) What do you think of the 10 Years of Euro Cash competition? Would take part again if there would be another competition?
Yes why not? It’s been fun and a good occasion for me. I’m looking forward to taking part in he next one.
I think that the European Commission should maybe increase a little bit the prize for the winner/s. I liked the idea of giving a prize to one of the voters as well. But in that case I would have made a souvenir or something for the other finalists to keep too.
11) Do you collect euro coins or have interest in this currency?
Yes, I collect coins from all the world since I was 8 years old.
I remember when I was little talking about ECU coins and I couldn’t wait to see them realized! It was I think 1992-1993.
When finally the EU reached this goal I couldn’t believe it and I couldn’t wait to see and use the new coins! I remember studying all the national sides of the coins.
In this period that I hear people and politics talking of the failure of Euro and thinking of going back to national currencies really annoys me.
Euro is one of the things that best unify people from different countries and gives the idea of a common “house”. Going back to the national currencies means going back in history.
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