Looking for a nice gift? (Probably not of much use with an e-reader, but luckily most people still have printed books.) Now someone’s last thoughts of the day won’t be on the last sentence he/she read, but on New York city instead. Not bad at all!
Gestalten recently added a new beauty to their range of impressive map books. ‘A Map of the World’ showcases contemporary maps by designers, illustrators and mapmakers from all over the world. As the publisher states: ‘Maps help us understand and navigate the world. For centuries, maps have become better, more refined, and more precise—there are no blind spots anymore. While Google Maps and GPS systems have become our tools of choice for navigation, contemporary maps have evolved into platforms for cutting-edge illustration, experimental data visualization, and personal visual storytelling.’ Couldn’t agree more! ‘A Map of the World’ consists of a great collection of maps, varying from very personal narrative maps to accurate street plans. Full of cartographic experiments, bright colours and enough pretty maps to look at once in a while: this book will make a great addition to your book collection. Oh, and do you remember the Cosmographies by Carlos Romo Melgar I blogged about last year? He is one of the featured artists in this book!
Lazy sundays are perfect to flip through my collection of map books. The Map as Art is one of my favourites (and was the first gift my boyfriend ever gave me. Good thinking of the guy!). This piece by Susan Stockwell is also in it: a London Subway map of red cotton that is stitched on calligraphy rice paper. Make sure to check out her website because she creates awesome art work. Happy sunday!
London Subway by Susan Stockwell, 2007
You know I live in Amsterdam. A great city to live in, also because of the charming canals that give the city its beauty and historical feel. In the Stadsarchief Amsterdam, an exhibtion called Booming Amsterdam just opened. The expo is about the building of the canals in the Golden Age. In 1613, Amsterdam was growing quickly and expansion was needed to house all people living in and coming to Amsterdam.The city council decided to build city canals. Booming Amsterdam gives you a great overview of 400 years of urban development. You will find maps, architectural plans and cityscapes to tell the city’s story. And it is quite the story!
And of big importance to me: two books were also recently published: Kaarten van Amsterdam (Maps of Amsterdam), Part 1: Amsterdam from 1538-1865, Part 2: Amsterdam from 1866-2012.
Part 2 is an updated and extended version of a book published in 2002, Part 1 is completely new. I had the honour to speak with the author – Marc Hameleers- a few weeks ago and he told me the project has been a part of his life for the last 20 years. The base for these two books is a catalogue written by D’Ailly in 1934. Marc Hameleers: “A.E. d’Ailly was working at the Stadsarchief of Amsterdam (the municipal archives) and he wrote a very thorough, detailed catalogue of the maps of Amsterdam. Unfortunately not very exciting to read, but the content is impressive. Don’t forget: D’Ailly didn’t have the resources we have nowadays to research the existence and availability of maps. His research is really impressive.”
Obviously, there are some big differences between the catalogue from 1934 and these new books: D’Ailly included the maps in a chronological order of its content. This means a map from the 19th century would be found in the beginning of the overview because it presented Amsterdam in the 17th century). Hameleers decided to follow the chronology of the map itself, making the overview also useful to study the cartographical developments and focus. Another big difference: Hameleers included all different versions, fascimiles etc of one map in one catalogue number. This makes the overview the books offer much more useful and practical. The Stadsarchief Amsterdam has a huge collection of maps of Amsterdam, but research was also done in other collections worldwide to get closest to a complete overview as possible.
The result of these years of work by Hameleers? Two beautifully designed books (by Ronald Boiten and Irene Mesu) with almost 1100 images. The books are intriguing because of their massive amount of great content, super printing quality (the maps look great) and the information they provide about the development of my lovely city. A must have if you ask me!
Information about the exhibition Booming Amsterdam:
15 February – 26 of May 2013
Admission adults: 6 euros
Adress: Stadsarchief Amsterdam, Vijzelstraat 32 Amsterdam
Information about the books:
ISBN: 978 90 6868 620 3 (part 1) and 978 90 6868 621 0 (part 2)
Price € 69,50 (per book)
You can’t be surprised by my love of underground maps. Now look at this beauty:
© Maxwell J Roberts, 28/01/2003, all rights reserved (Click here for full size version)
Max Roberts, expert on underground maps, has designed this new way to look at the London tube map. The commonly used map of the London Underground is becoming even more cluttered, hence this new circular approach. But besides this intruiging map there is even more: Roberts wrote a terrific book about metro/underground/tube (whatever you like to call it) maps: ‘Underground Maps Unravelled’ and is doing a lecture on February 19th in the Design Museum! I quote from their website about the talk by Roberts: “Since 1999, Dr Maxwell Roberts has been working on an ongoing research project to understand transport schematics, their effective design and how to evaluate them using objective methodology. In this lecture he presents his comprehensive catalogue of visual experiments and discusses his findings.” Go, go, go!
Furthermore: the book is very detailed and the book design is incredibly fresh and suitable for the subject: various tube lines running over the corners of the pages. It’s on my wish list!
To me On the Map by Simon Garfield is a great addition to the world of map books. ‘Why the world looks the way it does’ suggests this book will entertain the reader. And it does.
The book wanders through history in a relaxed way, and Garfield really takes the reader along on the discovery journey he takes. You can almost hear him speak out loud about every map. Whether it is about the Vinland map -and the discussion about it in the cartography field- or about Google Maps, Garfield gives you the feeling that each map story is a very special one. Of course I was happy to see a chapter included on stereotype mapping in the nineteenth century (my own thesis subject).
The part about women’s inability to read maps was also fun to read. Usually I get in defense mode the minute someone starts that discussion, but that proved not to be needed with Garfield. He does have a point though when he says women usually rely on landmarks to find their way, and men are slightly better in using spatial clues to find their way. Fair enough.
This book is a perfect gift for anyone intrigued by maps. I can’t say I read a lot of map topics that were new for me, but I like the broad variety of maps that are included. The fact Garfield even included the recent Apple Maps developments makes this book very up to date. That completeness of the book (plus the over 60 illustrations in it) makes it your perfect partner for a cold winter day on the couch.
‘A pub quizzer’s dream . . . Rather than over-romanticise the experience of map-reading, Garfield allows his varied, expertly researched stories to speak for themselves, and in so doing helps us see that there are fewer things in life more useful, rewarding and beautiful than a map that does what it’s supposed to. Perhaps if Apple had read the book a few months ago, today’s iPhone users would have a much better idea of where they’re going.’, David Clack, Daily Telegraph
On the Map
(In Dutch: Op de kaart will be published in June by Podium, ISBN: 978-9057595714)
If you are interested in urban development, social history, transportation, maps or the city of Amsterdam (or maybe all of the above, like me), you will love A Millennium of Amsterdam. This beautiful book by publisher Thoth was high on my wish list and I have to say it did not dissapoint me one bit. The book covers the spatial history of this beautiful city in forty stories. The graphic design is beautiful (by Jos Stoopman/stoopmanvos) and the book is full of incredible photos and a lot of maps. The author Fred Feddes takes you on a city trip on every page, focussing on the landscape, the relation between land and water, landmarks in the city, cultural development and much more. How did the landscape now known as Amsterdam look before there was an Amsterdam? Why is the Jordaan so different from the ring canals? Is Central Station in the right place? Why did Amsterdam’s impressive planning machine grind to a halt around 1970, and what happened after that? Who owns Amsterdam, and, for that matter, how great is Amsterdam? The book takes you through time from the year 1000 to the present day. If you know Amsterdam this book is a great way to increase your knowledge on the city history, and if you haven’t visited Amsterdam yet, this book will make you plan a city trip immediately.
ISBN 978 90 6868 595 4
Price € 29,90
On his 85th birthday, this post is dedicated to Dick Bruna: the Dutch illustrator and writer of children’s books about Miffy (or nijntje in Dutch). Besides creating Miffy, the most famous rabbit in the world, Bruna also designed many amazing book covers. He also designed the covers of the Black Bear pocket books by Havank. You probably understand why this is one of my all time favourites!
We all know the cover plays an important role for book sales. Well… you can guess why I would grab this one immediately (love the design by studio Dog and Pony from Amsterdam)! The book Naar de Stad is an anthology by Annelies Verbeke and Sanneke van Hassel. The subject also makes this book very suitable for Maps and the City, because all contemporary and international stories in it are about personal lives, adventures, encounters and/or dramas in the city. For all Dutchies: you can find it here.