On September 13, 2008, Sagmeister Inc. began the installation of a mural on Waagdragerhof Square in Amsterdam. Over the course of eight days and with the help of more than 100 volunteers, 250,000 euro-cent coins were sorted into four different shades and carefully placed over this 300-sq.-meter area to spell out the sentence:
“Obsessions make my life worse and my work better.”
After completion, the coins were left free and unguarded for the public to interact with.
Less than 20 hours after the grand opening, a local resident noticed a person bagging the coins and taking them away. Protective of the design piece they had watched being created, they called the police.
After stopping the “criminal,” the police—in an effort to “preserve the artwork”—swept up every remaining cent and carted them away.
“An elegant mural. Beauty from money, and in the end, destruction from authority.”
“An inspiring example of self-initiated environmental graphic design, with incredible precision and attention to detail.”
Stefan Sagmeister (art director); Richard The, Joe Shouldice (designers)