Guest post by the lovely Megan Charnley – llustre.com
There is something magical about maps. Even today, when we can virtually explore almost every street in the world thanks to Google, there is something mesmerising about an abstracted plan of the world committed to paper.
Perhaps it has something to do with humanity’s need to discover, record and communicate knowledge, combined with our instinctive drive to explore unknown territories. Perhaps its the pleasure of working out our own place in the world. Perhaps its the beauty of the skilled cartographer’s work. Whatever it is, my flat is filling up with them, fast.
- credit: House Beautiful
We’ve been making maps for thousands of years. The oldest known world map is a Babylonian carving known as the Imago Mundi, although I’m fairly sure that mankind would have been scrawling directions in the mud to the nearest watering hole millennia before this. Throughout the middle ages, the need for accurate maps became more demanding, and recorded some fascinating understandings of the world (see Peter Barber’s brilliant Map Book for an overview, and some lovely images).
Today technology has enabled mapping of almost every mile of the Earth’s surface, yet our fascination with the medium hasn’t diminished and increasingly I’m spotting maps in the most unlikely places.
Although I love the elegance of framed maps, (see the image above from House Beautiful) I also adore maps that are pasted straight onto the walls – like New York designer Steven Gambrell has done here in a nautical themed bedroom.
- Credit: Steven Gambrell
And imagine the wild dreams of exploration this sleepy designer is enjoying under a map from the National Geographic. Similar scale but more modern maps are available from the wonderful Stamfords in Convent Garden.
- Credit: National Geographic
Printed Space will make their maps up into wallpaper so you can cover a whole wall with a massive plan of a city you love: (though not sure about the yellow crockery!)
- Credit: Printed Space
If you like framed maps, why not try something a little different, like this map of Italy featured in Marie Claire Maison, or cut up a big map and display in lots of smaller frames as interior designer Keller Dovovan did here:
I’m endlessly fascinated by Charles Booth’s Poverty maps of the late 19th century – I live in what was a semi-criminal area (not sure much has changed!). However, even such an ardent map-lover as myself would concede that the lower image might be overdoing it somewhat…
- Credit: Museum of London
On a more sensible scale, these cushions by Australian designer My Bearded Pigeon bring a touch of vintage international charm to your sofa (weirdly, my favourite is the Antarctic Circle – it must be those cool colours).
- Credit: My Bearded Pigeon
And I absolutely love these plates from notNeutral – every dinner-time would be an excuse for an adventure.
- Credit: notNeutral
And finally, this is the brilliantly named “Oh The Farmer and the Cowman Should Be Friends” from Ron Arad a few years ago. Its way too big to fit into most people’s homes (and isn’t for sale!), but what a way to exhibit your library (of Americana, obviously.)
- Credit: Timothy Taylor Gallery